A tenant improvement is a fixed improvement to customize a tenant’s space to their specific tastes and needs. A “green” tenant improvement project can offer improved energy efficiency, increased employee productivity, optimal comfort, and fewer health risks. It also lessens the broader environmental impact of conventional construction and building operations. These processes typically eat up a lot of energy usage while also creating waste and carbon emissions. We’ve compiled this breakdown of some assets a building or space primed for green tenant improvements should have.

According to data compiled by the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings in the United States account for 72 percent of electricity consumption, 39 percent of energy use, 38 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, 40 percent of raw materials use, 30 percent of waste output, and 14 percent of potable water consumption.

It’s no wonder why both tenants and landlords agree that green tenant improvements offer both quantitative and qualitative benefits for everyone. Green tenant improvements can be followed by a green lease, which may include rules regarding thermostat settings or a building’s hours of operation, to promote even more sustainable cost savings and less environmental impact.

When evaluating potential new spaces, consider any assets the building or existing space already offers as well as those the landlord or property management company are willing to add. A building’s location and configuration will have a huge impact on your ability to green your workspace and help offset upfront costs. Although most green renovations or improvements ultimately pay for themselves in the form of reduced operating expenses, anything that can be done to reduce upfront costs is good. Here are few things to consider:

Building’s Proximity to Transit Options

The closer your space is to bus routes, light rail, street car stops, or bike paths, the more environmentally friendly you can promote your company as. Especially if day-to-day services are within walking or biking distance or easily accessible by public transportation. Employee amenities are a huge selling point when it comes to attracting new hires or retaining current staff. A building that already has showers and lockers for employees to freshen up and change clothes after biking or walking to work will negate the costs of adding such amenities.

Is the Building Certified Green by a 3rd Party?

Leasing a certified green building is one way to achieve your goals. A certified green building is recognized for a design that promotes higher energy-efficiency and environmental standards above and beyond that of a conventional building. You can learn more about California’s green building standards at http://www.bsc.ca.gov/Home/CALGreen.aspx.

Landlord or Property Manager’s Knowledge of Green Practices

Any landlord or property manager that is already well versed on green tenant improvements can only be an asset to any environmentally conscious initiatives your company has. A landlord or property manager that requires the use of non-toxic green cleaning solutions throughout the building or has a sustainable purchasing policy in place will typically support your green goals.

Sometimes Doing Nothing is Most Sustainable Option

Everyone understandably has visions of moving into or designing their dream workspace. However, if your existing space has finishings, furnishings, and equipment that’s operating efficiently and is up to current standards, sometimes remaining where you are might just be your most environmentally friendly and sustainable option.