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DENVER-Does the world of building management need green leases? “Absolutely,” says Mychele Lord, chair of BOMA’s Energy & Environment Committee. From a primer on how to create green leases that Lord presented Tuesday to tips on how to continually improve green operations in buildings, speakers and panelists at the annual BOMA International conference and office building show this week explored a host of topics on how to go green and how to keep buildings green.

Lord, the founder of Dallas-based LORD Green Real Estate Strategies, presented an overview called “Elements of Green Leases” that outlined how to go about creating green leases and offered advice to building owners on how to get tenants to go along with green requirements in leases. Conventional building leases in general do not support green requirements and in fact can be barriers to sustainability initiatives, Lord pointed out.

“Green leases are standard leases that are modified to remove these barriers,” Lord explained. She recommended against trying to alter existing, in-place leases but advised instead that building owners should fashion green leases that tenants can sign when leases roll over.

Lord noted that BOMA has created standard green lease language that its members can use as a model. The green lease language is part of the organization‘s lease guide, called Guide to Writing a Commercial Real Estate Lease, features step-by-step instructions to help building owners and managers write green operations and management practices into their leases.

A green lease establishes environmental standards for a building and provides greater assurance for tenants and building owners alike that environmental standards will be met, Lord said. She noted that recent surveys show that 54% of tenants who were polled say that a high-performance, sustainable green building operation is either “important” or “very important” to them.

Lord emphasized the importance of communicating with tenants to explain the role that they play in greening a building and to inform them of the cost savings that they can realize through green practices relating to energy and water use, waste-disposal practices, purchasing of green products and adoption of practices to improve indoor quality. “Green practices are learned behavior–you’re going to have to train them,” Lord said. She also advised building owners to school their leasing agents about the advantages of green practices so that they will support the green leasing effort.

Lord’s presentation was one of more than a doze on Tuesday’s final day of the annual BOMA conference and office building show, which this year focused on the business case for going green. Speakers and panelists addressed a host of subjects, ranging from techniques for implementing green operations in large portfolios to practical strategies for the continual improvement of existing buildings.

Throughout the conference, speakers and panelists emphasized the opportunities presented by adopting sustainable building development and management practices. Many of the conference sessions focused on the cost savings that can be realized through such practices and offered practical advice on how to introduce green practices into every facet of building management.

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