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New opportunities to fight climate change in these properties are coming from an unlikely source: the commercial property lease. A new study finds that in 2009, only 15% of all leases signed in Sydney’s central business district contained green clauses; by 2013, this had risen to over 60%.

Photo: Shutterstock.

Traditionally, leases ignore environmental considerations, partly due to conflicting landlord and tenant goals. However, the study shows how leases are evolving to include green clauses that can increase cooperation between tenants and landlords on sharing environmental goals, acting as a 'local law' to increase environmental accountability and opportunities.

Researchers from Oxford, Reading and Sydney Universities examined five case studies in the UK and Australia, where green leases were first introduced in 2006, to understand how green leases are applied in offices and stores. Their paper published in the journal, Building Research and Information, finds that green leases provide a valuable framework for improving levels of cooperation between tenants and landlords which can include sharing energy data, targets for improvement, and in very rare cases, costs for building upgrades.

Read more on the University website (opens new window)