Eco-friendly office space: Modern ways to make your office greener

Contemporary office culture has come a long way since people first started talking about green solutions. Here are a few things to consider when you’re taking steps toward creating more sustainable office practices.

Don’t Forget Your Tech

In today’s office world, suggestions like “recycle your paper” are swiftly becoming much less relevant than energy saving tips involving technology. Although, of course, it’s still important to recycle waste paper, or choose recycled paper in the first place, in increasingly paperless offices it pays to consider the energy use of your electronics. If every person in your office is using a computer, imagine the impact of a company-wide policy governing their energy usage.

Program all computers to enter sleep mode after ten minutes of inactivity, and shut down your computer completely at the end of each day rather than allowing it to enter sleep mode. And if you’re still using screen savers, skip it—screen savers are a vestige of the early days of computers, when the image of your desktop would eventually be burned into your screen if left on too long. A static image—or better yet, black—requires much less energy to run than a moving screen saver. Or better yet, if you’re walking away for a few minutes, just turn your monitor off completely. It won’t affect your computer’s memory, performance, or state in any way, but saves energy just like turning off a light switch.

Choose Energy-Saving Appliances

There are many upgrades you can make in your appliances that will go a long way toward saving power, many of which are already becoming the new standard. Just as energy efficient light bulbs are the new norm, LCD monitors have been swiftly replacing the CRT monitors of the past, and if you haven’t made the change yet you should as soon as possible—not only are they three times as efficient, but the upgrade is inevitable. It’s also worth it in both the long and short run to invest in efficient hardware—when buying your computer processors and accessories, look at Energy Star 4.0 ratings or high EPEAT marks.

There are many things offices don’t even think about that can be made more efficient with upgrades—for example, using virtualization technology to consolidate your servers, reducing your need for multiple physical servers (which are huge energy suckers).

Consider Green or Alternative Buildings

The amount of resources used for brick-and-mortar buildings and traditional methods of construction are often overlooked. The Construction Materials Recycling Association estimates that the construction and demolition industries account for 250 million tons of waste each year (which doesn’t include roads or bridges), and these C&D materials make up approximately 35 percent of all waste generated annually. Luckily, there are greener modes of construction for office space. LEED-certified buildings are increasingly becoming a popular trend in CRE. Through LEED, developers and owners are provided with measurable solutions for creating more sustainable buildings. There are also alternative options, especially if you’re feeling a bit more creative, such as such as PVC fabric buildings, which require a fraction of the construction materials or transport, allow greater amounts of natural light to enter, and are made of entirely recyclable materials.

Incorporate Telecommuting

Telecommuting is more feasible in the workplace now than ever before. With dozens of ways of instantly communicating through video, audio, and computer screen shares, the necessity of in-person meetings has been largely reduced. If your employees or partners can work from home, they save a bundle in terms of the energy that would otherwise be spent on commuting. If you have meetings with clients or partners that would usually require someone driving for miles, consider having digital meetings whenever possible. You might want to allow employees to work from home a day or two out of the week. You’ll save money on your office resources while also saving some gas. 44 million Americans currently telecommute full-time, and that number is growing daily because it offers so many practical and environmental advantages.

In this constantly evolving modern workplace, the ways we think about going green need to keep evolving as well. What are some other things you implement to make your office greener? Let us know in the comments below!

About the author:

This post was authored by Peter Kim, a freelance writer with a passion for the environment and green business. He has worked for a home improvement company and writes about the construction industry, maintenance advice and tips on how to live a greener life. 

Why Brokers Won’t Return Entrepreneurs’ Calls

It’s a common complaint among entrepreneurs looking for office space. Why don’t brokers call them back? The truth is that the majority of brokers do return inquiries.

At, we’ve found that how you phrase your initial request about space has a huge impact on whether or not you get a response. After analyzing 10,000 email requests in the last six months, here’s what we’ve determined to be the top three types of requests that do not get responded to quickly.

The wishy-washy entrepreneur  

When inquiring on a space, you have a wide range of what will work for you. You may have a huge range of space that you might need, and you don’t say when you need the space. You might need it right away or you might need it in six months. It can be fully built-out space or a wide-open bullpen.

While you might get lucky with a broker who is willing to spend the time extra time talking to you and helping you figure out what you truly need, most brokers won’t know how to prioritize their response for you as they fear you are not serious or that you will require a lot of work.

The short-term entrepreneur  

You request a month-to-month lease or something short term (less than one year). If you’re requesting a short-lease term you might as well be saying please do not call me back as far as a broker is concerned. This is fine to request if you are looking at a sublease or executive suite, but it’s not realistic for most landlords, so brokers will not want to waste their time with you.

The secretive entrepreneur

You don’t include enough personal information like your full name, company and any further details or descriptions of what the business use is for the space you’re inquiring about. The only thing you tell the broker is that details on the company are “under wraps.”

Brokers tend to de-prioritize these kinds of inquiries, because it gives them the impression that your business could be dangerous or illegal, which is obviously something the landlord would not allow in their building.

While it’s normal for entrepreneurs to want to keep details of their companies private for competitive reasons, there needs to be a balance with providing the necessary details for landlords. They will want to see financials and even a business plan if you are a startup with no track record.

Best practices

Based on our analysis, providing your full name, company name and specific details are ideal. For example, you might say that you are currently in a 5,000 square-foot space and are looking for bigger space, need a kitchen, two conference rooms and access to storage.

You can also count on a faster call back by including details that show that you’re an established company or what your timing is. You don’t need to divulge all your information, just enough to make the broker know that you are serious.  It’s not imperative that you sound like you know everything, just that you are serious.

So, the next time you spend the time to make the calls or emails to a broker, remember to give enough details and be thoughtful to get the fastest response back.

To get more answers to common tenant-related questions, visit our FAQ page.

This article was written by Susie Algard and  originally featured on See original source here:

Startups, Get Your Finances in Order Before Leasing Office Space

This post was authored by Nathan Smith, a commercial real estate consultant and owner of Austin Tenant Advisors


As a startup or new business owner it’s important to be financially prepared before starting the process of looking for and leasing office space. Gathering your financial information and making your startup look financially strong in the eyes of a Landlord takes longer than you think so you want to do this well in advance. By preparing in advance you better your chances of gaining the Landlord’s confidence in your tenancy and increase your chances of negotiating better office lease concessions such as tenant improvements, rental abatements, etc.

Similar to how banks preapprove you for a loan, Landlords want to make sure you are financially qualified before they lease you office space, especially in hot markets like Austin, TX.   They will be investing time, resources, tenant improvements and other lease concessions in your tenancy so it’s imperative that you prove your financial ability & stability to pay any upfront costs and rent for the duration of the lease term.

Proving that your startup company is financially qualified takes more than a great business idea, having a large 401k, or a big expensive house.

  • If you are a startup company that has been around for a few years Landlords want to see current profit & loss statements, cash flows, balance sheets, and/or other sources of financing and funding. Depending on the landlord’s perception of your financials you may need to securitize the lease with a security deposit, letter of credit (LOC), personal guaranty or a combination of the latter. Your financial strength, lease term length, total lease amount, tenant improvement costs, & lease commissions will determine the amount needed to securitize the lease.
  • If you are a brand new startup with no track record or you’re an existing one with weak financials Landlord’s will probably want the person signing the lease to provide 2-3 years of personal tax returns and/or a personal financial statement. Depending on the Landlord’s perception of those personal financial statements they may require that the lease be personally guaranteed, need a larger security deposit, or need a letter of credit (LOC) that will cover the landlords up front costs to do the deal (e.g. tenant improvements, lease commissions, etc.).

Before you begin the search for office space, make sure you have your financials in order and have them ready to show Landlords. You might also consider having your business plan and pro-forma available to show your current and future financial projections.

Do all that you can to put your best foot forward, however because you are a startup Landlord’s still may require you to sign a personal guarantee, pay a larger security deposit, or have a letter of credit (LOC). You only get one shot at making a good impression! The more prepared you are and the better your finances look the better chance you have at proving to the Landlord that you can pay rent AND in receiving office lease concessions.



Nathan Smith specializes in helping startups companies find, lease and/or purchase office space in Austin, TX. He has advised over 300 companies in finding the best office locations, negotiate new leases and lease renewals, facilitate relocations and expansions. Outside the office Nathan enjoys hanging out with his wife and two children in Bee Cave, TX and is an avid runner and cyclist that participates in many local triathlons and running events.

Lookin’ for Tenants in All the Wrong Places

The Destination

It has been 18 months since we launched our pilot program for Tenant Rep Brokers and I’m thrilled to say that it has been an overwhelming success!  In fact, since we launched, others have tried to copy our model which is further validation of the market opportunity.  However, their captive audience isn’t necessarily tenants that are searching for space and is reflected in the quality of those leads.

2012 and 2013 were record years for us over multiple metrics and 2014 seems to be on the same overall trajectory, if not continues to be the premier destination for tenants that are actively looking for space.

The Program

Tenant Connect is our broker marketing program specifically designed for tenant representation brokers from the ground up.  Our platform allows prospective tenants to reach out to our Tenant Connect Brokers directly as they are searching for available spaces while on  These inquiries or contacts can happen via email or phone and are tracked in our system and relayed directly to the broker.  It is truly a platform that works for both the Tenant and the Tenant Reps.  Best of all, as a tenant rep, you don’t have to do anything to source the clients, you just have to qualify and respond to the inquiries…something you all do currently.

Overall results for the past 18 months:

  • Approximately $500,000 in commission revenue generated for the broker
  • Over 6,500 contacts directly delivered to the broker
  • Over 115 closings with a large pipeline
  • Our broker churn rate is flat at 0%, everyone is seeing the value

The Journey

All our current tenant connect brokers are reaping the benefits of adopting early as they are all generating commissions and have secured their spot in their respective markets.  All our pilot cities are currently full but we are always building out wait lists.  Additionally, we make proactive changes to our tenant connect broker pools based on performance and user reviews, which helps us improve our tenant experience.

What some of our Tenant Connect Brokers have to say:

Overall – the use of has enhanced my ability as a broker tenfold – I truly cannot imagine getting going without a tool like this.  My interest in inbound leads and how to qualify, nurture and then cultivate them has proven a great asset to Colliers –and an invaluable learning experience with your tool.  I look forward to many more years of successful partnership – and would encourage any and all feedback you have for me in the future. — Sam Devorris (Colliers, Denver)

(in 4 months) Have received over $30,000 in commissions my efforts have generated from the leads so obviously it has worked for me! — Scott Driver (Scott Driver & Company, Seattle)

The main reason for enjoying the TC Broker Program over the last two years is the ease of quality inbound leads and income, not just the immediate 5 figure deals but the future 5/6 figure deals when leases roll/renew/relocate.  I have never done a six-figure lease with Office Space yet, but in 2013 and 2014 so many deals were in the five-figure range. I also have a 62 month deal in the highest priced building in all of San Diego County today from an Office Space lead – anyone can call me about it, and I will note how easy it was to get.

In our competitive commercial real estate environment to have so many office leads come in that are coming from areas that you would otherwise have to be LinkedIn, be introduced, or network to meet the President or CEO, is able to cut right to the front of the line.  

I recommend to all tenant reps, the only problem is not all tenant reps can become a member, so I tell them in minutes to sign up or get back to LinkedIn, be introduced, or network. — Michael Mazzotta (XREIT, San Diego)

The Opportunity

We’ve learned over the past few years how to attract and keep prospective users on the site and we will continue to listen, learn, and refine our services.  The team at is aggressively expanding our listing base throughout the nation and this will allow us to bring this platform to many more markets in the near future.

If you are interested in being a leader with entrepreneurial foresight, contact us for more information and reserve your spot as we offer this platform in your market:

Don’t miss out like so many brokers in our pilot markets did, by letting the herd mentality take over.  Many of those that missed out was simply due to waiting to see who would join the program.

After all, where else can you tap into a steady profitable stream of prospective tenants actively looking for your help?

Where are you looking to find tenants?

When Does it Make Sense to Use a Broker to Find Office Space?

With the explosive growth of small businesses in the U.S., more entrepreneurs are finding themselves negotiating and closing leases without the help of a broker. While at times it makes sense to do this, using a broker in the right scenario can greatly assist in securing the best possible lease for you and your company.

Before deciding whether you need extra help, it’s important to understand what motivates brokers and how they can benefit you during a lease transaction.

Getting their attention. Knowing how brokers get paid is important to understanding their motivations — and why sometimes, they don’t return your calls. Most brokers get paid a percentage of your total lease value, which is typically between 3 and 5 percent. However, this often isn’t the full amount your broker will receive, as they usually have to share a percentage of their commission with their brokerage companies.

Getting to a signed lease can be a lot of work. This can involve conference calls or face-to-face meetings, searching for spaces that satisfy your requirements, setting up and attending property tours and actual lease negotiations themselves.

A broker will have to do these steps for a company regardless of if they’re looking for 10,000 square feet of space or 500 square feet of space, but the difference in size means that the amount the broker receives will be significantly different.

This is why you might want to — or have to — represent yourself in a lease transaction for a smaller space. If your space requirements are bigger or more complicated, then there are instances where using a broker may be in your best interest. To better understand the potential costs of working with a broker, check out our FAQ.

Knowing the landlord landscape. It’s tempting for experienced entrepreneurs to think that they can deal with the landlord directly and save money by not using a broker, expecting that the landlord will pass savings on to them. While there may be times when this is true, there are just as many situations where it isn’t necessarily the case.

While you might do a lease transaction every three to five years, brokers do many deals every month. The end result is that brokers are likely to know more about the landlords operating in the local area than you do. They know the property owning landscape well: who is flexible, who is motivated and who will go the extra mile to accommodate a tenant.

For example, let’s say you are a growing company with the stability to sign a long-term lease if desired, but want to retain a short-term lease for greater growth flexibility. In situations such as this, an experienced broker can guide you to spaces with landlords who are not only flexible, but can accommodate you in alternative buildings while under your current lease.

Let’s say you run out of space two years into a five-year lease, you may have the option to transfer your lease terms and move to a larger space in their portfolio. Additionally, as opposed to having to take a large space that is intended to be grown into, a broker may be able to negotiate rights of first refusal on adjacent spaces one or two years into your lease term, saving you from paying that rent from the onset.

Striking a creative deal. A broker may also be able to work out a plan that works best for your company’s financial needs by getting creative with how your rent escalation is constructed. If you are working on a product launch that runs on an 18-month cycle, a broker may work with you to escalate your rent accordingly instead of a traditional 12-month rent increase cycle.

If you are facing a scenario where you may have run out of space completely, they may even be able to negotiate a lease buyout with the landlord so that you can move into their new space without paying double rent.

There are no hard and fast rules on when to work with a broker. Before putting in a lot of work shaving a few percentage points off your lease by saving the landlord from a commission, ask yourself if you’re paying for something that you shouldn’t have to or if there’s any flexibility that is worth more to your company than the rent savings.

These factors could amount to much more savings than the commission saved and passed to you.

This article was written by Susie Algard and  originally featured on See original source here:

Connect at CRE Tech Intersect

The team has been busy rolling out our services nationwide, albeit on a small scale as we embrace this unexpected turn of events. The goal was to roll out market by market but when tenants are searching across the country and the demand is there, it’s time to open up the flood gates. While we are still quietly focused on markets where we’ve seen the most activity, it’s been a breath of fresh air connecting with owners, developers, brokers, landlords in person at events like ICSC’s RECon, Sperry Van Ness’s Tech Den among others. (In fact, now is a great time to get ahead of the curve and add your listings to reach tenants as the summer season officially kicks off.)

This week we look forward to CRE Tech Intersect in San Francisco, taking place on Thursday June 20th from 6-9pm. The 2nd annual event brings together some of the most innovative tech companies in today’s commercial real estate market, along with a great line up of speakers, promising to be an exciting evening filled with insight into the following areas:

– What new technology will give you a competitive edge?

– How are today’s CRE technology firms changing to meet the needs of owners/operators/brokers?

– What are your competitors doing with these technologies?

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We hope to see you there and look forward to sharing the latest from

Calling All Tenant Reps!

So many inquiries, so little time

We’ve had a great 2012 and 2013 looks to be off to a fast start.  So much so that we are looking to expand our pool of Tenant Rep Brokers! has been extremely busy with our Portland, Denver, and San Diego launches and here is a brief summary of 2012:

  • Launched Portland, OR (Jan 2012), Denver, CO (June 2012), San Diego, CA (Dec 2012) AND
  • 243,000 visitors
  • 2,200,000 building views
  • 1,900 leads directly to listing brokers
  • Approx. 10,000 calls to listing brokers

We’re very proud of these results, however, we’re just getting started.

Destination for Tenants is where many tenants who are just starting to look for space first enter the market. We’re talking to these potential tenants, sometimes they simply request some marketing and listing contact information. Other times, these are tenants who are ready and willing to work with a Broker and this is when we send them to you. We are filling a void for tenants and they are finding us online.

Little Secret

As some of you may know, the platform is open to nationwide listings even though we are focused on our home markets of Seattle, Portland, Denver, & San Diego.  In fact, we continually add new listings outside of our home markets and they are getting indexed.  In the last 30 days, much to our surprise, our non-home market web stats and lead activity has in some cases, surpassed our home market metrics:

  • 52% of visitor traffic was outside our home markets
  • 60% of our building views were attributable to our non-home markets
  • 30% of our leads & inquiries were generated from outside our home markets

The Opportunity

This is where you come in!

If you are an experienced Tenant Rep and would like to be part of our Tenant Rep Broker Pool, please email me at with a brief bio and I’ll be sure to contact you.  Oh, by the way, our Tenant Rep Broker Pool is free to join but spots are limited, so secure your first mover advantage and get in early!

If you have listings, get them onto, you will get indexed, you will get exposure, and you will generate leads.

With your help, we’re making finding and leasing space a smoother and easier process!

The Simple Math on Why Brokers Aren’t Returning Your Calls

If you’ve ever wondered why brokers aren’t calling you back when you’re looking for small spaces, let me break it down for you with simple math.

First, here’s some background on how brokers get paid:  brokers usually get paid a percentage of your total lease value.  What that percentage is varies from region to region but it’s typically between 3 to 5%.  However, brokers typically have to share a percentage of their commission with their brokerage companies.  This percentage can also vary but I’m going to use a 60/40-commission split for our purposes with 60% going to the individual broker.

To get to a signed lease, there is typically a lot of work.  There are calls or in-person meetings, searching for available spaces that meet your requirements, calls to set up property tours, the actual property tours and lease negotiations. All of the steps I mention above are the same for a company looking for 10,000 square feet of space as 500 square feet of space.  In addition, most companies looking for smaller spaces are unsure of what their space needs will be in the next year or two so they are only looking for shorter term deals whereas companies needing larger spaces tend to look for longer lease terms.  So, here’s what the math looks like in both scenarios:


500 square foot space x $30/square foot per year = $15,000 in annual rent

Lease term is 1 year:  1 year lease value $15,000 total rent (for ease of calculations, I’m assuming no rent escalation)

Brokerage company’s commission 5% = $750

Broker’s commission 60% of brokerage company’s commission = 60% x $750 = $450


10,000 square foot space x $30/square foot per year = $300,000 in annual rent

Lease term is 3 years:  3 x $300,000 = $900,000 in total rent

Brokerage company’s commission 5% = $45,000

Broker’s commission 60% of brokerage company’s commission = 60% x $45,000 = $27,000

This is a very simple way to look at the two deals. Every deal is unique but you can see that the numbers just don’t make sense for brokers with smaller spaces.  This doesn’t even take into account the number of times brokers work on a deal where they’ve put in their time and the deal goes dead for reasons outside of their control.   If you could spend the same amount of time for $27,000 versus $450, what would you do with your time?  Even if you tried to make a volume play, you would have to close 60 smaller deals to earn the same revenue that you would with one larger deal.

This is one of the reasons that we’ve built a site designed to allow tenants to self -serve.  By providing all of the relevant information about a space on our site, we are hoping that we can really cut down on the time investment needed for research and tours by brokers.  If you represent a small space that you need to get leased without losing money to get it leased, upload it to our site and ensure that you have lots of photos and that the information is complete.  We’ll be sending you qualified leads in no time.