GBCSA Launches Green Lease Toolkit

Private Property South Africa

The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) announced the launch of the Green Lease Toolkit at the end of May at the 44th South African Property Owners’ Association (SAPOA) International Convention and Property Exhibition in Durban.

The Toolkit was developed by SAPOA and the GBCSA in response to demand for ‘tools’ on how best to facilitate Green Leases. Green Leases are a relatively new concept in South Africa and are defined by the GBCSA as “a vehicle for both landlords and tenants to unpack the shared benefits of ‘going green’ while defining contractual rights and obligations that require or encourage the implementation of green building initiatives.” Importantly, Green Leases ensure that sustainably designed buildings are also operated in a sustainable fashion.

In line with increasing electricity costs and improving environmental awareness, so too are South African landlords seeking guidance and resources to help them harness the benefits of well-designed, well-built buildings. Simultaneously, tenants are increasingly demanding ‘green’ space with a view to taking advantage of the healthier and more productive indoor environments green buildings offer.

The benefits of green buildings include, amongst others, improved quality of life, increased staff retention and productivity, improved asset performance, reduced exposure to regulatory changes, reduced operating costs, reputational enhancement and compliance with more stringent corporate reporting requirements.

Says Neil Gopal, CEO of SAPOA: “We are happy to have played a role in bringing a practical mechanism to the South African industry which begins to satisfy these needs. With buildings providing up to 40 percent of greenhouse gas abatement potential, it is imperative that we synchronise the design and construction of new buildings, with the efficient and responsible operation of both these buildings and our existing building supply.”

According to Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA: “As the green building movement in South Africa gains traction, we are seeing a more consistent adoption of green building principles by leaders in the local property industry. However, in order to truly yield maximum and longer-term benefits, buildings have to be managed and operated in an environmentally sustainable and resource efficient way. The Green Lease Toolkit is a precursor to shifting the paradigm of ‘living green’ into the mainstream for owners and tenants alike.”

The GBCSA explains that some of the benefits which stem from green buildings will accrue to tenants, while others will accrue to landlords. Some benefits will also be shared. However, all are interdependent and rely on the intent and action of both parties, their agents, contractors and employees – for their shared benefit. The Green Lease Toolkit unpacks this delicate balance and introduces the concept of ‘spilt-incentives’ between owners and tenants.

Jarrod Lewin, Green Lease Toolkit project manager commented: “The Green Lease Toolkit is useful and relevant to the property industry in preparing lease documents that take both green building design and operational principles into account. It also uses robust methodologies established through market analysis and is applicable across all building sectors.

“The Toolkit doesn’t only provide the basic guidelines, but is also a practical resource which includes schedules and checklists that are transferable into lease documents. The aim of the Toolkit is to make green leases more accessible to tenants, building owners, building managers and their representatives.”

The Green Lease Toolkit is available to all GBCSA and SAPOA members free of charge. Non-members will be charged a fee to access the downloadable PDF online. For further information, go to www.gbcsa.org.za

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