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Building owners and tenants collaborate in energy savings

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Tenants – owners might collaborate. Fine, but how?


I, landlord, collaborate with my tenant on an energy savings project


Europe, according to the second report on the state of the energy union, [1] is more or less in line to reach its famous “3x20” energy and carbon target by 2020. Today, new goals are in sight from the “Clean Energy for Europe” package at the commission: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40%, 30% in energy efficiency and 27% of renewables in the final energy mix. Buildings will have to contribute strongly to these goals and notably, the existing non-housing park.


Christian Cléret, President of the French Real-Estate Directors Association (ADI) and member of the French Real-Estate State Council (CIE) argued for all professionals that “energy transition cannot be achieved without a coordination and a concertation of all stakeholders of the building sector.” This is true in the field: energy management in buildings ideally requires mobilising the company and its employees to involve the owner and the facility manager for a continuous improvement. It mobilises both technicians and use.


Committed to green leases, renting companies are asking for alternative paths for their “low-carbon” strategies to produce its benefits. ISO 50001 certifications brings forward a long-term procedure, environmental certifications such as BREEAM In Use are proof-making evaluations. But both need to be provided ¨true in the field¨ actions decided amongst external and internal stakeholders.


Thus a sociological survey led by the French energy agency and the French Institute for Building Performance (IFPEB) gave way to the first edition of the CUBE 2020 energy savings contest between non-housing buildings and has shown that optimisation of a building comes - above all -  from a relational work between stakeholders.


A CUBE candidate testifies: “It is essential to have everyone around the table and to meet regularly for reviews and updates.” Cedric Nicard, Head of Sustainable Development at PERIAL Asset Management, managed the LEONI building throughout the contest to achieve a final 11,8% of energy savings within one year: “During the contest, the tenant, the technical manager, the operator and the sustainable development officer - that is to say technical and non-technical actors- met around the same table.” The “contest” option happens to be a catalyser of this result-oriented, dynamic year.


This phenomenon might be surprising. The energy sociologists Gaëtan Brisepierre, Delphine Labbouz-Henry and Isabelle Moussaoui explain: with its original and competitive framework, CUBE 2020, for one year, becomes “a light subject of discussion with our tenants while our relations are not easy” which allows “to smooth the conflicts with the tenants” according to the candidates. It “creates a good-will dynamic” and develops “a common objective” instead of having people “against each other” in normal times.

“The landlord’s interests and the tenant’s interests are rather opposed and CUBE allows to align them.” Indeed, the approach fosters (in some organizations) an evolution of the relationship between the facility manager and the renter in a more “technical” dialogue: “The asset of CUBE is that our tenants have understood a lot of things on what they could ask to the operator. Not only some troubleshooting, they can call the operator when there is a problem.”


The contest becomes a means for the landlords to « reconnect » with their tenants thanks to an “energy saving blitz” that accelerates things within a year and can follow-up with longer-term actions like certifications such as ISO or environmental ones. The most important concept is to start “strong” within a year, which is eased by a “contest” mode.

Competition or collaboration? A good answer for human organization always seems to be an alliance of both.

The third edition of the contest CUBE 2020 started on January, 1st 2017 with 237 candidates in France (metropolitan and overseas) and in Luxembourg.




CUBE 2020 official website:

French Institute for Building Performance (IFPEB) website:




[1] presented on 1 February, 2017: