Commercial property expert John Stephens reviews The Better Buildings Partnership’s Green Lease Toolkit which has been recently updated. The aim of the Toolkit is to promote the message that owners and occupiers of commercial property need to consider the environmental performance of buildings as an integral part of their management functions in dealing with risk, value, cost and reputation.
The Better Buildings Partnership was launched in 2007 and is a collaboration between leading commercial property owners. The list of collaborators has grown significantly and has a strongly institutional flavour, which some might find surprising. Perhaps this reflects a feeling that institutional landlords cannot afford to be bystanders as market-based mechanisms imposed by the government become ever tougher and the legal obligations to meet EU energy reduction targets start to bite.
The Toolkit was originally published in 2009, when times were already challenging and one could have been forgiven for thinking that promoting energy efficiency was rather self-indulgent, given the depth of the problems facing the commercial property sector at the time. When published, the Toolkit was considered light green and, by some, to be a base position around which market practice would coalesce. Four years on, there is evidence that this is beginning to happen.
The new Toolkit builds on the experience gained from the first but is not fundamentally different in approach. However, it addresses the practical issues around energy performance with greater confidence and in a pragmatic style, as a result of feedback from those at the coalface. Increasingly, the Toolkit provides traction for the development of a body of opinion and advice around what a lease negotiator can reasonably expect to obtain on behalf of his client on the merits of an energy-related issue, and provides vital information for occupiers and owners alike. If you are considering granting, taking or renewing a lease, or retrofitting premises to make them more energy-efficient, the issues covered in the Toolkit are going to be relevant and each context is likely to be different.
For further information and practical, well-informed advice on how to minimise any threats and maximise any opportunities that the push for energy efficiency in commercial buildings may throw up, please contact a member of the Keystone team.
This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.