1. Be transparent and open. Share your energy efficiency goals and real time building performance with tenants.
2. Share information on the mutual benefits of your green programs with your tenants. Consider a “Tenant Benefits Letter” and ask them to share their energy data. See the Commercial and Corporate Real Estate Benchmarking Starter Kit on www.energystar.gov for more.
3. Raise awareness and educate tenants. Share how they contribute to the building’s energy performance and specific steps and actions they can take to reduce their energy consumption.
4. Assess how your tenants currently use their space and help them identify opportunities for improvements Work with them to develop a plan or a checklist so they know what they can work to improve.
5. Reach out to your tenants and empower them to take an active role in improving the efficiency of their building. Collectively establish performance goals for the building (consider a joint tenant/owner/management council). Encourage new ideas and respond, and if feasible, act on the recommendations.
6. Incentivize tenant behavior (food, cash prizes, recognition).
7. In multi-tenant buildings host a competition to build camaraderie in a shared, focused effort, harness people’s competitive spirit, have some fun and generate savings for everyone.
8. Communicate. Create a plan, develop posters and other marketing collateral, send regular newsletters with tips, reminders and updates and (most important) celebrate success.
The same ideas can be used to support tenants as they act to reduce water use, manage waste and improve the indoor air quality of their space.
Stephen Bushnell is the founder and principal of Stephen Bushnell + Associates, a consulting firm focused on the enterprise risk management aspects of green buildings and sustainable practices.
Steve also sits on the Board of the US Green Building Council.