The Coffee House Green Lease Case Study

Brewing Up a Plan to Percolate Energy Savings

The Coffee House was founded in 2009 and is owned by Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. The shop is situated in a three-story building located in a center of education, medicine, arts, and cultural institutions, known as University Circle. To lower energy usage and improve performance, the business asked the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) to perform a thorough energy assessment. The assessment revealed that if the business implemented all of the recommended energy conservation measures (ECMs), the facility could expect to reduce electricity consumption by 12 percent and natural gas consumption by 32 percent, yielding a simple payback of 2.9 years.

Although the payback was short, the investment was still more than The Coffee House could pay up front, and the business needed to evaluate its long-term investment in a building it didn’t own. Upon meeting with Eric Meyer, one of the business’s managing partners, he informed COSE that their lease was due for renewal, which is typically the best time to discuss modifications to a lease. He was intrigued to learn about the concept of green leasing and eager to introduce new energy-saving language to Case Western. Meyer saw the lease renewal as a great opportunity to get the University on board to help reduce utility costs and integrate the building into the campus-wide sustainability master plan.

As Meyer and other savvy tenants and landlords have come to realize, an energy audit combined with a green lease can address the sustainability goals of both parties, establishing a framework to justify costs and savings, and innovatively working building enhancements into the lease.