LEED User Group Insights: Landlords, tenants and LEED | U.S. Green Building Council
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Published on
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Posted in Industry

LEED User Groups are USGBC-hosted peer networks that are spearheading greater adoption of the LEED rating system within the industrial facilities, retail and restaurant, hospitality and venues, and commercial real estate industries. LEED User Group Insights share challenges, opportunities and best practices for the design, construction and operation of green buildings in these key sectors. 

In February, the LEED User Group: Commercial Real Estate (LUGCRE) discussed best practices across the industry and identified useful resources related to tenant guidelines and tenant sale lease agreements (TSLAs). In doing so, the members of this group, who are prolific users of the LEED rating system, also considered how these topics tie into their LEED project scorecards.

Key takeaways

  • Both TSLAs and tenant guidelines are optional in LEED. Athough TSLAs aren’t a specific credit, they can be used to help projects with a limited scope achieve credit compliance. Tenant guidelines, on the other hand, are associated with the Tenant Design and Construction Guidelines credit and outline which credits a tenant could earn simply by moving into a building certified under LEED Core and Shell or LEED for Existing Building standards.
  • Developing tenant guidelines is a thorough and detailed process, so you want to be sure to start early, assign the task to a project team member (probably the project team administrator) who has a broad scope of work, and be sure the task is properly scoped into consulting agreements prior to starting.
  • If you’re just starting work on your TSLAs or tenant guidelines, it’s highly encouraged to work under the guidance of LEED v4. Tenants who go on to register their interior space for LEED certification after October 31, 2016 will be required to register for LEED v4, so planning ahead will ensure the document you’re creating now will be applicable for your tenant’s work well into the future. 

Lessons learned and best practices

  • USAA Real Estate Company discussed working with a tenant, who has a data center, to meet Energy Star requirements, so as to maintain building certification and Washington, D.C., benchmarking requirements and to fulfill the tenant’s lease. When it comes to submetering, this can be one of the more challenging tenant space types, and USAA noted that local policy requirements certainly help motivate action. USGBC anticipates that increased nuances in the LEED v4 rating system adaptations for data centers may also help future projects.
  • Forest City shared examples of strong lease clauses, the success of which they attribute to strong cross-departmental collaboration between their legal, sustainability and tenant coordination teams.
  • Cushman and Wakefield shared their experience with corporate occupier sustainable site selection questionnaires and site selection guidance. Cushman and Wakefield uses a thorough but practical document when going to market for new offices for corporate tenants, asking landlords questions  on topics such as green cleaning; energy, waste and water reduction goals; access to alternative transportation; indoor air quality; and LEED certification. Tools like this are site selection strategies as well as primers for further sustainability activity.  

Some LUGCRE members shared their experience using other resources, such as the BOMA green lease guidelines. They also partner to produce case studies such as those in the EPA report, and look to known leaders like the Bullitt Center to see concrete examples of green lease success in practice.

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