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Looking Beyond COVID-19: Green Leasing - Action, adaption and adoption for commercial offices in China

Shaun Brodie • 7/8/2020

Green leasing banner (image)

As the COVID-19 outbreak began to gain a foothold in China, many office landlords and office tenants in the country quickly took steps to ensure that office building and workplace health and safety levels were strengthened to combat the spread of the virus. 

Ahead, we expect office building health and safety measures, as well as office workplace wellness and wellbeing programmes, to be prioritised and to grow in number, as well as reaching new heights in terms of standards. Green leasing can assist in this endeavour. 

What is Green Leasing? 
A green lease is essentially a standard lease with new or adapted clauses integrated to better align financial incentives, sustainability, and health and safety objectives between the office landlord and the office tenant. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, we identified four key drivers of the green leasing trend: 

  • Decreasing costs of green technology 
  • Smarter commercial buildings and spaces
  • Growth in industry demand for green space
  • Government initiatives relating to green development 

These remain highly relevant, with COVID-19 providing significant urgency to adoption. A sizable percentage of commercial office space in China is leased and, without a doubt, opportunities exist for office leasing to become greener. This is especially true considering the growing attention currently afforded to health and wellness in high-performance office buildings throughout the country.  

Green Leasing - Action, adaption and adoption for commercial offices in China

For the benefits of high-performance office buildings to be exploited, office leases must be modelled around green concepts (including elements focused on health and safety) to ensure that the relationships between office landlords and office tenants are aligned with the newest developments in real estate. 

Green Leasing - Action, adaption and adoption for commercial offices in China

A green lease can make it achievable for investments in operational efficiency and operational effectiveness to be advantageous both to the office landlord and to the office tenant, and can inspire or make it obligatory for both parties to collaborate and cooperate to ensure that an office building is occupied, operated, and managed in a sustainable, healthy and safe way. 

Green Leasing - Action, adaption and adoption for commercial offices in China

Implementing Green Leasing Concepts 
There is no one-size-fits-all green lease, and the green clauses to be integrated into a lease should be adjusted to align with the aims of the office landlord and the office tenant, while recognising the distinct circumstances of the office building. 

Green Leasing - Action, adaption and adoption for commercial offices in China

Finally, actionable, adaptable and adoptable green leasing in China not only serves to address environmental concerns in the interests of conserving China’s varied and distinctive landscapes and biodiversity, but moreover offers office landlords and office tenants in China palpable gains and savings that exist in many forms, including: 

  • Reductions in energy-associated costs 
  • Heightened public image 
  • Enhanced health, safety, and wellness standards 

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