Why Rent Eco-Friendly Green Space in New York City?

Eco-friendly office space rental built with recycled materials and powered by renewable energy

Looking for office space in Manhattan? Perhaps the time is now to think about going green. Eco-friendly offices in the city are more than just a trend; they’re a smart choice for businesses that care about their environmental impact. Imagine working in a space that’s both environmentally conscious and chic. These spaces come with energy-saving features and sustainable materials, which are not only good for the planet but also great for your team’s well-being. Plus, with sustainable initiatives gaining steam, it’s a solid way to show your clients and employees that you’re serious about doing your part for the environment. So, why not explore leasing a green space in Manhattan? It’s a decision that makes sense for your business, your people, and the planet. Here’s what you should know. 

Manhattan’s Top Neighborhoods for Green Space

  • Midtown: The heart of Manhattan, Midtown is a prime location for businesses seeking both prestige and sustainability. With green landmarks like the Bank of America Tower, 4 Times Square, and The New York Times Building, this area showcases its commitment to eco-friendly practices. These buildings, known for their advanced environmental technologies, are emblematic of Midtown’s fusion of innovation and corporate responsibility.
  • Lower Manhattan: This financial powerhouse also leads in green building initiatives. It’s a neighborhood where history meets modernity, and buildings like One World Trade Center are a testament to this blend. One World Trade Center integrates renewable energy and water efficiency, while  was among NYC’s first green skyscrapers, setting a precedent in eco-friendly design.
  • Hudson Yards: As one of the most recent developments in Manhattan, Hudson Yards is a beacon of contemporary design and environmental stewardship. With state-of-the-art buildings like 10 and 30 Hudson Yards, this neighborhood redefines the future of green urban living. It’s an ideal choice for businesses looking to be part of a cutting-edge, sustainable community.
  • Flatiron District: Known for its iconic architecture and vibrant atmosphere, the Flatiron District also takes pride in its green initiatives. Buildings like 11 Madison Avenue and 200 Fifth Avenue not only add to the district’s architectural legacy but also its growing reputation as a hub for sustainable business practices, making it a compelling choice for eco-conscious companies.
  • Chelsea: Famous for its art galleries and cultural scene, Chelsea merges artistic creativity with environmental consciousness. The High Line Building and 450 West 33rd Street exemplify of how the neighborhood integrates green principles into its urban fabric. Chelsea offers a unique blend of culture, innovation, and sustainability, appealing to businesses that value a creative and environmentally responsible setting.

Current Average Leasing Costs for Green Space

  • Midtown:  $57-$140
  • Lower Manhattan:  $77-$120
  • Hudson Yards:  $90-$140
  • Flatiron District:  $80-$120
  • Chelsea:  $80-$120

What You Should Look for in Green Space 

When considering leasing green office space, there are several key features and benefits to look out for. These elements not only contribute to a healthier work environment but also align with broader environmental sustainability goals. Here are five important aspects to consider:

  • Energy-Efficient Lighting: Look for office spaces that utilize energy-efficient lighting systems. These systems aim to reduce energy consumption, lower utility costs, and provide a comfortable, well-lit workspace.
  • Low VOC Finishes and Recycled Materials: Opt for offices with finishes that release minimal volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can improve air quality and employee health. Additionally, spaces incorporating recycled content in their paper products, furniture, and other office materials demonstrate a commitment to reducing waste and reusing resources.
  • Waste Reduction Facilities: A green office should have a dedicated recycling area to facilitate waste management and reduction. This feature is crucial for businesses aiming to minimize their environmental footprint.
  • Bicycle Storage: Office spaces with bicycle storage facilities can be a significant advantage for employees who prefer eco-friendly commuting options. It encourages a healthier lifestyle and reduces reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Renewable Energy Sources: Renewable energy sources like solar panels or wind turbines power some green buildings. Leasing in such buildings can significantly reduce your business’s carbon footprint and contribute to broader sustainability efforts.

Additionally, consider if the office space is LEED certified by the US Green Building Council. This certification ensures adherence to established standards in energy efficiency, material use, air quality, and water savings. However, an office doesn’t necessarily need this certification to be considered green.

The Challenges of Leasing Green Space in New York City

Leasing green office space in New York City, while aligning with environmental sustainability goals, comes with its own set of unique challenges. Here are five key challenges specific to leasing green space:

  • Limited Supply: As businesses increasingly prioritize sustainability, the availability of green office spaces becomes a significant challenge. Particularly in preferred locations, there’s a limited supply of these environmentally friendly offices, making it difficult for companies to find suitable green options.
  • Cost Premiums: Green buildings may have higher leasing costs due to the substantial capital investment in building infrastructure to create LEED/Green buildings. These costs can pose a financial challenge for businesses, especially small to medium-sized enterprises trying to balance budget constraints with environmental commitments​​.
  • Adapting to Green Standards: Green office spaces often require tenants to adhere to certain environmental standards, including restrictions on the type of materials used or waste management practices. These needs can necessitate operational changes and adaptations, which can be challenging for some businesses​​.
  • Complexity in Design and Operations: Owning a business in a green building in NYC, you’d face the challenge of mastering complex systems. Imagine guiding bewildered staff through finicky, motion-sensor lights and explaining quirky, water-saving sinks to perplexed clients – a true test of adaptability in a cutting-edge environment.
  • Operational Adjustments for Sustainability: As a tenant in a green building, you’ll need to adapt your business operations to align with sustainability goals. This involves regular adjustments to energy use, waste management, and resource conservation, often necessitating a shift in everyday practices and potentially increased effort from your team.

Top Considerations Before Signing a Lease

Leasing green space in New York City is a big step in your path to sustainability. Still, you should be aware of some key considerations first:  

  • Assess Sustainability Features: Investigate the sustainable features of the building. Look for energy-efficient systems, water conservation measures, use of renewable energy, and materials with low environmental impact. Check if it has certifications like LEED Gold or Silver, which indicate advanced sustainability standards.
  • Cost Implications: Green buildings may have higher upfront leasing costs due to their specialized features. However, long-term savings in energy costs, potential tax incentives, and grants for green initiatives can offset these. It’s important to analyze the total occupancy cost, not just the lease rate.
  • Compliance with Regulations: New York City has specific regulations and standards for green buildings, such as Local Law 97 to reduce carbon emissions. Ensure that the space you’re considering complies with these regulations and understand your responsibilities.
  • Location and Accessibility: Consider the location’s accessibility via public transport and its walkability score. Proximity to public transportation can reduce the carbon footprint of your employees’ commutes, aligning with the overall sustainability goals.
  • Health and Well-being Features: Green buildings often include features that contribute to the well-being of occupants. Features could include better indoor air quality, natural lighting, and thermal comfort. These aspects not only benefit the environment but can also enhance employee productivity and satisfaction.

Ready for More Insights?

Since 2004, our team has represented hundreds of tenants and helped them lease green space. Contact us at (212) 444-2241 for any questions. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does Local Law 97 in NYC impact leasing decisions for green office spaces?

Local Law 97, part of the Climate Mobilization Act in NYC, sets carbon emission limits for buildings over 25,000 square feet. When leasing green space, tenants should know that landlords have incentives to improve building efficiency to avoid penalties. This law means tenants may benefit from more energy-efficient spaces and potential cost savings but should also be aware of ongoing improvements and retrofitting activities in the building.

2. Are there specific green building certifications to look for when leasing office space in NYC?

In NYC, LEED and ENERGY STAR are prominent certifications for green buildings. LEED-certified buildings meet high environmental standards in design and operation. At the same time, ENERGY STAR-rated buildings are known for superior energy performance. Tenants should look for these certifications as they often indicate a higher building quality and commitment to sustainability.

3. Can leasing green space in NYC contribute to a company’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) objectives?

Absolutely. Leasing green space in NYC can significantly contribute to a company’s CSR objectives by reducing its carbon footprint, improving energy efficiency, and promoting employee wellness. These actions align with global sustainability goals and can enhance the company’s reputation as environmentally responsible.

4. What are some hidden benefits of leasing green office space regarding employee productivity and well-being?

Green office spaces often have better air quality, natural lighting, and thermal comfort. These benefits can lead to increased employee productivity and reduced absenteeism. Additionally, these spaces sometimes offer amenities like green terraces or wellness areas, contributing to a healthier and more stimulating work environment.

5. How does the green space leasing market in NYC compare to other major cities regarding costs and availability?

Compared to other major cities, NYC’s green space market is often more competitive. It can command a premium due to high demand and limited supply. However, the city offers more mature and diverse green space options, from historic buildings with sustainable retrofits to cutting-edge new constructions. This diversity gives potential tenants various choices to fit multiple budgets and company cultures.