Green your lease

Finweek English Edition - - NEWS -

Run­ning an en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able busi­ness is of­ten eas­ier said than done. You might en­cour­age your em­ploy­ees to work from home and re­cy­cle to re­duce your com­pany’s car­bon foot­print, but con­vinc­ing your land­lord to make changes for the sake of sus­tain­able busi­ness prac­tices can be a chal­lenge. If this sounds fa­mil­iar, a green lease agree­ment might be for you. Ac­cord­ing to Peter Town­shend, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Know More Waste, a green lease is an of­fi­cial or un­of­fi­cial doc­u­ment be­tween the owner and ten­ant of a build­ing that outlines sus­tain­able prac­tices for the du­ra­tion of the lease agree­ment.

De­pend­ing on the will­ing­ness of your land­lord to en­gage, a green lease could re­quire a sig­nif­i­cant upfront in­vest­ment and a bit of retrofitting, or small changes that can be rolled out over a pe­riod of time. Your land­lord might be will­ing to re­place all ex­ist­ing gey­sers with so­lar wa­ter heaters, or sim­ply agree to im­ple­ment re­cy­cling and em­ploy an en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious clean­ing ser­vice.

You might not be able to con­vince your land­lord to agree to a green lease as part of your cur­rent lease agree­ment, so re­mem­ber to bring it up when your lease comes up for re­newal. A num­ber of en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sul­tan­cies across the coun­try can also as­sist in the ne­go­ti­a­tion and draw up the legally bind­ing agree­ment. The Green Build­ing Coun­cil of South Africa is a good place to start look­ing for an agent.


Green leases are far more preva­lent in the cor­po­rate world than res­i­den­tial leases, but Town­shend says that with a bit of ne­go­ti­at­ing, you might just con­vince your land­lord of the mer­its. The Govern­ment of­fers a re­bate on so­lar wa­ter heaters that will sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the upfront in­vest­ment costs for the land­lord. Also of­fer to split the cost of the sav­ing with your land­lord.

“So­lar wa­ter heaters and heat pump sys­tems can save the ten­ant about 45% on elec­tric­ity costs,” says Town­shend. Of­fer­ing your land­lord half of your sav­ing means you both ben­e­fit, which will prob­a­bly make him or her more ea­ger to ne­go­ti­ate.

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