Searching for office space at first seems a lot like selecting a college. You build some high level criteria, and tour a number of options. But at some point, you have got to make your short list. Our team has finally narrowed down the list of buildings that we want to “apply to” to 3 or 4, perhaps including a “safety school.”
This is the RFP phase of our search, where we explicitly invite the top choices on our list to compete for our rent dollars. We get a plan of each property, and have our space planner create a “test fit” to see how our organization might align with the building’s available space. Where do the offices go? Coffee and break rooms? Conference rooms? How might different parts of the staff interact in the space?
But in starting this phase, we are consciously signaling our desire for sustainability and energy efficiency. We want to know what the building will provide, how they will measure it, and what will happen if goals aren’t met. We’ve also made a point to give buildings the option of being energy efficient now, or in the future – just as long as they eventually meet some level of energy efficiency. Thus, we included the following language in our RFPs sent out to the short list:
17. Landlord’s Sustainable Operating Practices. As an extension of their philosophy for social responsibility and mission to promote energy efficiency, NEEA will be seeking high levels of operating performance for their new Portland office. Sustainability goals, operating procedures, performance indicators, and certifications will be negotiated in a “green” lease. As a starting point, the BOMA Commercial Office Lease with green lease language, copy write 2008, shall be the base lease document for purposes of documenting sustainability and energy efficiency performance. A copy of this lease agreement shall be simultaneously transmitted to the Landlord’s attention with transmittal of this offer to lease. Please provide detailed information as to how your building will help support NEEA’s goals, as well as provide a list of building standard sustainable practices (such as separate metering of NEEA’s space for utility usage, use of green cleaning products, recycling programs, etc,), current or projected building certification or performance indicators (ENERGY STAR ratings, LEED-EBOM, etc.) and tracking and reporting mechanisms to document building performance levels. Tenant will work expeditiously with the Landlord to clarify all practical performance requirements, expectations, and other “green” requirements prior to lease signature.
Responses are due soon, it will be fascinating to see what kind of ideas and proposals we see. Tell us what you think – did we ask for the right things?