Why 60L has a unique green lease

Rooftop view over the 60L Green Building

Turning your home or office green can be easy – as long as you are the owner/occupier, and the one making the decisions. But what happens when someone else lives in your home, or rents your office space? How can you make sure that the tenants are as committed to the principles of environmental sustainability as you?

The solution is a Green Lease.

The Green Building Partnership (GBP), in constructing the 60L Green Building, realised that one of the most effective measures to ensuring tenants adopt environmentally friendly practices would be to develop a Green Lease.

Until now, leases for rental properties generally only specify measures to protect financial obligations and the property. They do not encourage sustainable behaviour.

The GBP created a unique Green Lease to put the onus on the tenants to operate efficiently within their space and maximise the environmental benefits of the building, such as: efficient appliances and fittings such as low ballast lighting, waterless urinals, efficient thermal control systems such as openable windows and recycling systems.

Terms of this lease encourage tenants to reduce consumption of energy, water and materials, produce less waste and recycle as much as possible. Such actions described in the lease include choosing efficient lighting, turning off appliances, using photocopiers that reuse paper, and utilising the recycling facilities.

The GBP also provides information and guidelines for tenants to assist them in fitting and managing their space.

ACF, with a grant from the Melbourne City Council, was able to assist GBP to develop a Building Management System that monitors the use patterns and actions of the various tenants. This will help tenants better manage their space and the building manager work out if the building is operating at maximum efficiency.

The GBP was keen to develop this monitoring system and the lease so as to encourage its adoption by other commercial building owners, managers and tenants. There are thousands of commercial leases in Australia and it is critical that they support rather than inhibit sustainable building design, fitting, management and operation.

An important step in making commercial buildings more sustainable is to ensure that rental agreements embrace the sustainable use of energy, water and materials. There are thousands of commercial leases in Australia - making them sustainable would have a huge impact.