Engaging Tenants in Energy Efficiency

Depending on building type, the building’s occupants can control up to 80% of energy use in a commercial building. Therefore, engaging tenants in energy efficiency initiatives is crucial to unlocking the full energy savings potential of a building. This toolkit outlines successful strategies and resources for bridging the tenant-landlord divide through green leasing guidance, tenant improvement and build out best practices, and examples of successful communication with tenants regarding energy efficiency opportunities.

    This case study describes the implementation of the Tenant Fit-Out Integrated Systems Package (ISP) at a retail bank branch, including project details, key takeaways, and data comparisons before and after the renovations.
    The Tower Companies updated its standard lease agreements to include a green appendix that 100% of new and renewed tenants accepted, supporting efforts to reduce energy and water use across its commercial portfolio.
    Building owners can use these best practices, developed in conjunction with an industry advisory group, to implement green leasing language throughout their portfolio. They offer guidance on establishing goals, tracking progress, and engaging with brokers and tenants.
    This fact sheet for small office leases provides guidance on how property teams, leasing agents, and brokers can communicate the value of considering energy efficiency during tenant improvements to reduce occupancy costs and ensure a healthy environment for employees.
    The tenant improvement period offers a great opportunity to build energy efficiency into a tenant space. This fact sheet for large office leases provides guidance on how your property teams, leasing agents, and brokers can communicate the value of considering energy efficiency during tenant improvements.
    While commercial building owners generally have control over building systems and operations, tenants play a critical role in achieving lasting reductions in energy intensity. In recognition of this collaborative role, the Department of Energy has studied the feasibility of improving energy efficiency in tenant spaces. This study finds significant potential to improve energy efficiency during the design and construction of tenant spaces and describes several possible steps to encourage owners and tenants to improve the efficiency of those spaces.
    Green Lease Library Online Library/Resource
    Hosted by the Institue for Market Transformation, this resource library features case studies, sample lease language, best practices, and toolkits to help organizations that are interested in pursuing green leasing.
    The Green Lease Leaders program set a common definition for a green lease through its recognition requirements. The program highlights tenants, landlords, brokers, and teams that are collaborating through the lease to increase energy efficiency. Currently the program recognizes organizations that own, manage, or lease more than 1 billion square feet of commercial floor space and shares best practices from awardees through case studies and resources.
    Whole Foods Market sought to rapidly expand rooftop solar on stores and distribution centers as part of its long standing commitment to sustainability. Drawing on lessons learned from ad hoc solar installations to align landlord and tenant interests, the company developed a portfolio approach to install rooftop solar on 25% of its stores and warehouses.
    In order to benchmark energy data and identify efficiency opportunities, Prologis developed a multi-pronged approach to gain access to tenant utility data through the modification of lease language and coordination with utilities.
    At its Regency Saugus Center in Massachusetts, national retail center owner Regency Centers partnered with tenant Trader Joe's to install a 253 KW rooftop solar system. Regency Centers owns the solar array and sells the generated solar energy power to Trader Joe's at a discount, offsetting approximately 65% of their total electricity use with clean power.
    CommonWealth Partners developed a Tenant Engagement Program that increased tenant awareness for energy efficiency and sustainability, which helped them achieve an average ENERGY STAR score of 90 out of 10 portfolio-wide as a result.
    Shorenstein's “Flip the Switch” Program was initiated in 2011 to broaden tenant awareness of sustainability and energy savings opportunities in their leased spaces by providing actionable strategies for reducing consumption resulting in an average of 27% reduction in plug load energy use.
    UC Berkeley's Energy Management Initiative (EMI) targets building occupants through building surveys and energy dashboards, and allocates energy cost responsibility to individual campus operating units to achieve savings of $6.5 million in just three years.
    Green Lease Check-up Worksheet for Tenants




Financing or paying for a project, Engaging employees, occupants, and customers, Building expertise within my organization

Tool type:


Building Type:

Food sales & service, Healthcare, Office, Multifamily, Retail