“Education is key to any sustainability initiative, and occupant education is paramount to a successful asset-level sustainability program. By providing property teams with easy-to-implement tools to educate occupants, we have seen measured improvement in asset-level performance.”
- Mychele Lord
LORD Green Real Estate Strategies
The problem or the situation
Tenant engagement is essential in successfully implementing a sustainability program. Even the most efficient building can underperform if the tenants are not involved in sustainability efforts. It can be difficult to get tenants focused on sustainability for several reasons: (1) They are primarily focused on running their businesses and have not made the connection between sustainability in their leased space and impact on their operation; (2) they do not know where to start; and (3) if they do know where to start, they often do not have a solid action plan.
The problem is universal and applies to all property types and geographic areas. However, the solutions must be tailored to each property type.
The process of finding the solution
Research was conducted that targeted each specific audience. The solutions were tailored for each property type with a more structured approach of setting goals and creating a plan of action for office tenants and a casual and lighthearted approach for residential tenants.
A fundamental step in getting tenants involved is to provide them with educational materials. We have developed a 23-page handbook to offer tenants specific ways to green operations within the office environment. Titled The Sustainable Office Handbook, it focuses on sustainability practices in six areas as well as detailed steps to help tenants create a customized sustainability program for their operations. The six areas include: office paper usage, purchasing, recycling, energy consumption, water consumption and transportation. We have also developed a Sustainable Office Checklist that accompanies the handbook and provides many specific, practical ways to save energy as well as both company and natural resources.
For multifamily residents, we offer a 10-page Green Living Guide for Apartment Residents that provides residents with no-cost and low-cost ways they can go green. Areas addressed include energy efficiency, water conservation, reduce/reuse, recycling, purchasing, cleaning, transportation and a list of helpful resources.
Implementation of the solution
The most efficient and cost-effective methods used to distribute educational material to tenants are email distributions, social media and by posting information on property websites. The office sustainability guide not only provides helpful sustainability tips and information, it also provides tenants with the tools and training to create their own customized sustainability programs. The residential sustainability guide contains content and language that is specifically relatable to apartment residents. It is important to know the audience and tailor the guides, respectively.
The sustainability guides have been well received by the tenants and residents. For some properties, we have even created customized handbooks with property logos. The only limitation to the tenant engagement program is when property managers are not committed to promoting the sustainability initiatives. We often see a direct correlation between tenant engagement in sustainability and the on-site property manager’s engagement in sustainability. Implementing a successful tenant engagement program is made easier by providing property managers with tenant and resident handbooks, newsletter and social media content and event ideas.
LORD Green Real Estate Strategies