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Ensuring environmental performance in green leases: the role of facilities managers

Raufdeen Rameezdeen (School of Natural and Built Environment, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)
Jian Zuo (School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)
Jorge Ochoa Paniagua (School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)
Anthony Wood (School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)
Phuong Do (School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)

Facilities

ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 15 February 2019

Issue publication date: 19 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

A green lease incorporates sustainability practices to reduce a building’s negative impact on the environment. Facilities managers play an important role in ensuring these best practices are implemented during the operational stage of a building; however, green leasing is an under-researched area in the emerging field of sustainable facilities management (SFM). This paper aims to investigate the common barriers encountered in ensuring environmental performance when a green lease agreement is in operation between a landlord and tenant.

Design/methodology/approach

This research was conducted in three stages using the principal-agent problem as the theoretical foundation for data collection. Stages 1 and 2 used semi-structured interviews to collect data with policy/corporate-level professionals, landlord and facilities management representatives who have considerable experience in green leases. Stage 3 used document reviews based on summative content analysis to further evaluate the extent of the contextual use of green leasing concepts as used within the facilities management community.

Findings

The study confirmed a strong incentive gap and information asymmetry between the landlord and facilities manager, forming a typical double principal-agent problem when the split incentives between the landlord and tenants are also taken into consideration, which results in agents acting on their own self-interest rather than the interests of the principal. Goal alignment is found to be key for the successful operation and management of a building throughout its life; when present, these goal conflicts can lead to disharmony between the parties to the contract.

Research limitations/implications

The study proposes a few practical measures to close the gaps in incentive and information asymmetry that create the principal-agent problem, while providing recommendations to the facilities management professional community. These recommendations could be included in future revisions of the SFM guidelines or code of practices used by the industry. Although this study exposed a rather neglected area of the facilities manager’s role in green leases, the findings are limited by the relatively small sample size used for the interviews.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the SFM body of knowledge from a green lease perspective, and the theoretical framework in the double principal-agent problem introduced in the study could be used in future research endeavours.

Keywords

Citation

Rameezdeen, R., Zuo, J., Ochoa Paniagua, J., Wood, A. and Do, P. (2019), "Ensuring environmental performance in green leases: the role of facilities managers", Facilities, Vol. 37 No. 9/10, pp. 527-549. https://doi.org/10.1108/F-01-2018-0017

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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