The article ‘Green Leases’ was published in the Conveyancing and Property Law Journal – (Summer 2022) Vol. 27(2) 18, Thomson Reuters, Round Hall. The article is available on www.westlaw.ie or alternatively in print via email TLRUKI.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The article outlines how climate change has become a global focus, with the urgent need to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. There have been multiple policy and legislative responses both nationally and internationally dealing with climate change. In December, 2019, the European Commission published a communication on a European Green Deal, with an objective of becoming the world’s first climate neutral block by 2050. The enactment of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act, 2021, by the Irish Government https://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2021/act/32/section/15/enacted/en/html supported by the Climate Action Plan 2021,which was published on the 4th November, 2021 (Plan) https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/6223e-climate-action-plan-2021/ provides a roadmap for the reduction of our GHG emissions by 51% by no later than 2030 and net zero by no later than 2050. The Plan focuses, inter alia, on the decarbonisation of commercial buildings. To achieve this, an interdisciplinary approach is necessary by different organisations working collaboratively together towards sustainability and the circular economy, i.e. finance providers, the construction sector, investors, managing agents and landlords and tenants.
This requires a shift in thinking from traditional leasing, which would not typically focus on environmental matters to green leasing, where clauses are provided to ensure that the area demised is occupied, managed and kept in a sustainable way, minimising environmental impacts. Green leases are not restricted to new buildings, they can also be entered into for existing and protected building for which there is a proposed environmental management plan or a retrofit to be carried out which meets with green leasing requirements. It is at the negotiation stage that green clauses governing the lease should be considered, and once agreed form part of the heads of terms. Green leasing requires green thinking, with landlords and tenants working collaboratively together towards sustainability and the circular economy, resulting in many benefits for not only the landlords and tenants but also for the environment.