[Today we are highlighting the what is, in my opinion, the most important green building legal story of 2009.
With the launch of LEED v. 3.0, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) announced it would revoke certification of projects that failed to meet minimum requirements. The possibility of LEED de-certification creates new liability issues for all parties involved in any green building project and emphasizes the growing emphasis on building operations.
This post resulted in a firestorm of comments (31) that are more interesting than the original post. Thanks to everyone for contributing to the informative conversation.]
Disclaimer: If you are sensitive to or frightened by new risks and liabilities in the green building industry, please skip this post.
On Monday, I highlighted the USGBC's decision to create requirements to ensure a building's performance matches modeled energy savings. I finished the post by asking, what happens to projects that do not comply?
Okay, brace yourself:
NOTE: CERTIFICATION MAY BE REVOKED FROM ANY LEED PROJECT UPON GAINING KNOWLEDGE OF NON-COMPLIANCE WITH ANY APPLICABLE MPR. IF SUCH A CIRCUMSTANCE OCCURS, REGISTRATION AND/OR CERTIFICATION FEES WILL NOT BE REFUNDED.
It is time to introduce a new word into your green building vocabulary: de-certification.
Every time I start thinking about the implications from de-certification, my head starts spinning and I have to sit down.
It just happened again.
I have definitely not uncovered all of the potential issues, but here are three that immediately jump to mind:
1. De-certification makes regulations tied to LEED certification very difficult to enforce. What does a jurisdiction do if a project is de-certified?
2. Insurers and sureties are going to be extremely concerned about coverage issues after design and construction work is complete. Could an architect or contractor remain on the hook for potential de-certification long after a project has been completed?
3. For you owners out there, the commitment to provide energy data must carry forward if a building or space changes ownership or lessee. How in the world do you write this into a contract?
The room is starting to spin again. Please elaborate on any additional risks and liabilities implicated by de-certification in the comments.
Photo: Kevin (iapetus)