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Improving environmental performance through innovative commercial leasing: An Australian case study

A. Craig Roussac (Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia and Investa Sustainability Institute, Sydney, Australia)
Susan Bright (New College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK)

International Journal of Law in the Built Environment

ISSN: 1756-1450

Article publication date: 13 April 2012




The purpose of this paper is to illustrate, by reference to practical examples, how leases of commercial buildings can be more responsive to environmental issues.


The paper explains how difficult it is within the structure and content of conventional leases to reduce the environmental impact of the tenanted commercial built environment. It explores the interplay between the content and structure of commercial leases and the behaviour of building owners, managers, tenants and occupants, illustrated through the experiences of a large Australian‐based commercial office building owner/operator.


With reference to practical examples it shows how conventional leases stifle innovation and illustrates the difficulties in drafting leases that enable a responsive approach to building management to be adopted. It shows how more fundamental changes that align and reward owners and tenants for working together for mutual benefit are required.

Practical implications

The paper presents a number of “model clauses” for encouraging best environmental practices and concludes with a suite of recommendations.


Although there have been conversations about green leases in recent years, there is little detailed evidence of their use in the marketplace. This paper remedies that deficiency by taking a case study approach that: illustrates the opportunities and difficulties in negotiating green leases; and shows how attempts to provide innovative building management can be hindered or supported by lease terms.



Roussac, A.C. and Bright, S. (2012), "Improving environmental performance through innovative commercial leasing: An Australian case study", International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 6-22.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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