Skip to main content

2020 Green Lease Leaders Stand Apart

By Better Buildings Beat Team on Jul 14, 2020

This year, 29 organizations, collectively representing more than 1 billion square feet of leased space earned the Green Lease Leader designation. These organizations consist of owners and renters ranging from small and large commercial offices to retail and industrial properties and data centers. The 2020 Green Lease Leaders were recognized at the Better Buildings, Better Plants virtual leadership symposium.

Through the Better Buildings Initiative, DOE partnered with the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) in 2014 to develop the Green Lease Leaders program, an industry recognition platform that recognizes real estate companies and practitioners who modernize their leases to spur collaborative action on energy efficiency and sustainability in buildings. These organizations include local governments, small businesses, leading-edge real estate companies, and major technology firms.

Green Lease Leaders demonstrate that the lease can be used as a valuable tool to remove the split incentive barrier, which poses a major obstacle to achieving high-performance buildings in leased space. Through green leasing, landlords and tenants develop closer relationships that serve as a launch point for additional building investments in health, electrification, and sustainability.

This year’s Green Lease Leaders demonstrate two market trends:

  1. Green leases are increasingly popular: The majority of awardees have put their leases into action, signified by going from Silver to Gold. In 2018, the program created these two classifications to make a distinction between organizations seeking credit for a leasing strategy versus those that had implemented one. This year’s winners are majority Gold status, indicating that green leases are not theoretical.
  2. Tenant demand for high-performing buildings is growing: An increase in tenant awardees speaks to the growing recognition that buildings play a key role in corporate sustainability goals. Tenant awardees like the California Department of General Services are committing to putting 80% of their portfolio into green leases in the next three years. Similarly, Mastercard has incorporated sustainability questions into its RFPs for office space.

Here are examples of awardees that have put leases into action:

  • Latham & Watkins: With a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% against a 2017 baseline, Latham has focused on integrating green leasing best practices to optimize its office operations as well as selecting high-performing space that meets its corporate sustainability standards.
  • STAG Industrial: By integrating lease language that facilitates two-way communication of utility data between the landlord and tenant, STAG has built a rapport with its tenants while gaining insight into property performance. This insight is assisting STAG in prioritizing efficiency improvement projects that demonstrate significant value.
  • Ulta Beauty: Ulta Beauty has become a frontrunner in the industry with its energy management program and leasing approach. Ulta Beauty’s legal and construction teams have been instrumental in collaborating with landlords on efficient build-out standards.


Each year the Green Lease Leaders program continues to grow as more organizations recognize the environmental and social benefits of green leasing. Interested in joining this group of changemakers? Learn what it takes to be a Green Lease Leader.