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New Project Aims to Cut Pollution From Cleveland’s Downtown Buildings

Published: Nov 25, 2014 Finance & Real Estate | Press Release

Contact: Chris Potter, 202-525-2883, x311 / chris@imt.org

COSE AND IMT TO HELP LANDLORDS AND TENANTS IN CLEVELAND 2030 DISTRICT SAVE ENERGY AND CUT EMISSIONS

Washington, DC—November 25, 2014—Today, the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), in partnership with the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), is launching a pioneering project in the City of Cleveland to help commercial buildings save money and energy by connecting landlords and tenants around energy efficiency—particularly when it comes to the lease.

IMT and COSE will work together to deploy the leasing project at the intersection of building efficiency programs currently underway in Cleveland, including COSE’s Nonresidential Energy Assessment Program and comprehensive energy services suite, the Cleveland 2030 District, the City of Cleveland Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, and Sustainable Cleveland 2019. IMT and COSE will work with participating owners and tenants on smart commercial lease solutions that equally align the costs and benefits of energy efficiency investments between the two parties.

“In our initial exposure to Cleveland we’ve met an extraordinary number of owners and tenants who care about energy efficiency, and we’re excited to partner with COSE to provide the tools that will help turn that interest into action,” said Adam Sledd, Director of Commercial Real Estate Engagement for IMT. “This is an opportunity to further boost the City as a leader in sustainability.”

IMT’s green (also known as high-performance, energy-aligned, or energy-efficient) leasing strategies dovetail with the holistic energy program that is currently provided by COSE’s Nonresidential Assessment Program to commercial and nonprofit customers. COSE, one of the largest metropolitan chambers of commerce in the country and Ohio’s largest small business support organization is partnering with more than 25 local chambers of commerce to deliver  a comprehensive energy program to small businesses. COSE’s dedicated energy team develops and manages these types of programs and delivers corresponding education and consultative support on the benefits of reducing energy costs for small businesses.

COSE is committed to working with local chambers to become change agents and incorporate clean energy as an economic vitality tool within their respective communities. No business group is more focused on the economic vitality of their cities and regions than local chambers of commerce and organizations like COSE.  Green leases enables local businesses to improve their bottom lines, thereby increasing investment in other areas, such as expansion and job creation.

“What makes this project so exciting for us is watching the business community in Cleveland become a national leader on this issue,” said Nicole Stika, Senior Director of Energy Services for COSE. “Through education and technical assistance on smarter lease negotiations, COSE and IMT will help owners and tenants reach their triple bottom line and work together to make their spaces healthier, more comfortable, and energy-efficient.”

Improving building energy efficiency represents the fastest, least-cost path to CO2 emission reductions. Buildings consume more energy and are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions in the United States than any other end-use sector, accounting for more than 48 percent of total energy consumption and more than $420 billion in annual energy bills for U.S. businesses, governments, and consumers. Energy-aligned leasing is a powerful tool that can address CO2 and energy use challenges on a large scale.

“The City of Cleveland is excited to be a part of this project. Green leases are crucial in making sure energy efficiency is a winner for both building landlords and tenants, so we encourage local leaders to participate,” said Matt Gray, Director for Cleveland’s Mayor’s office of Sustainability.

A well-known barrier to energy efficiency in buildings is the “split incentive” problem: If the tenants pay the energy bills, the landlord has little incentive to invest in efficient equipment, but at the same time, the tenant does not own the energy-using lighting, heating, cooling and ventilations systems of the building, and therefore has no incentive (or ability) to invest in efficiency upgrades. The result is that neither party takes the initiative to perform energy-saving improvements. In commercial rental properties this “split incentive” problem and general lack of tenant engagement strategies frequently limits the uptake of energy efficiency solutions.

For programs such as the COSE nonresidential energy assessments, landlords and tenants must collaborate in order for an assessment to lead to energy efficiency improvements. This can be accomplished through green leases. Traditional leases designate responsibility for landlord and tenant, but rarely do they account for energy efficiency. When inserted into existing lease forms, green leasing terms realign incentives, facilitate information sharing and encourage landlord and tenant to work together on the efficient use of energy and other resources. The United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative lists green leasing as a key step in the process of unlocking energy efficiency improvements.

As this project gets underway, COSE and IMT look forward to working with Cleveland’s landlords and tenants to unlock the potential in their buildings.

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ABOUT IMT: The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization promoting energy efficiency, green building, and environmental protection in the United States and abroad. IMT's work addresses market failures that inhibit investment in energy efficiency and sustainability in the building sector. For more information, visit imt.org.

ABOUT COSE: COSE (Council of Smaller Enterprises) is committed to empowering small business success through a series of programs, services, events, and resources that support entrepreneurs, their businesses—and their employees. COSE helps small businesses achieve their idea of success in order to build richer, more vibrant communities that improve the economic climate and enhance quality of life.  You can learn more about COSE at www.cose.org or contacting one of our small business concierges at 866-553-5427.