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Tenant Engagement Foundation Report - Engaging Tenants to Achieve Net Zero Buildings


City of Sydney and the Better Buildings Partnership


A key challenge for building owners and managers who seek improved energy efficiency and greenhouse performance is tenant engagement. This practical guide draws on research in the fields of psychology, social psychology and organisational change to provide actionable insights that can inform the design of effective tenant engagement and behaviour change initiatives.


The guide is structured around 10 practical steps to develop tenant engagement programs. Each step is informed by 7 evidence-based design principles. These are:

  1. Know your audience

  2. Make it easy

  3. Make it attractive

  4. Make it social

  5. Make it timely

  6. Encourage commitment

  7. Provide continuity



  • Review existing literature to identify relevant theoretical models as well as practical guidance materials.

  • Draft and then present a draft report structure and background material to the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) Tenant Working Group

  • Based on the feedback received develop Draft 1

  • Following a review of Draft 1 develop the final guide.

The following evidence-based research was drawn upon to inform the actions and principles:

  • Changing Energy Behaviour: Guidelines for Behavioural Change Programmmes (BEHAVE) - European Commission

  • The EAST approach developed by the Behavioural Insights Team in the UK Cabinet Office

  • The Instituational-Behavioural Dimensions of Sustainability report prepared by the United States Department of Energy

  • The Facts & Trends report on Energy Efficiency in Buildings developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development


The report findings have informed design of the City of Sydney's Better Buildings Cup - an innovative program that requires owners, managers and tenants to work in a collaborative way to progress towards net zero emissions for the building as a whole.

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