Green Building Law Update

LEED "Pledge" to Replace LEED Bond

One of the very first green building legal conundrums may be resolved. 

The Washington Business Journal reported on October 31 that legislation will be introduced in Washington D.C. that will create an alternative to the much maligned LEED bond requirement in the D.C. Green Building Act of 2006. 

Under the Act, as currently written, as of January 1, 2012, all new construction greater than 50,000 square feet must obtain LEED certification.  Under the proposed legislation, developers will be permitted to make a binding "pledge" that LEED certification will be attained: 

Under the pledge route, if a new building fails to be certified LEED within two years of receiving its certificate of occupancy, the developer would be penalized $7.50 per square foot for buildings under 100,000 square feet, and $10 per square foot for buildings larger than 100,000 square feet.

Notably, the D.C. Council proposed to create an alternative enforcement mechanism instead of correcting the D.C. Green Building Act's many flaws.  Two prominent surety associations outlined these flaws in a white paper for the D.C. Government.  The associations suggested that LEED bonds would be made available if the legislation were to be corrected. 

For design professionals and contractors working in Washington D.C., the LEED Pledge will mean more onerous contract terms.  If developers can be penalized up to $3 million for not achieving LEED certification, these same developers will require guarantees of LEED certification from design professionals and contractors.  Don't be surprised to see penalty provisions in contracts that mirror the LEED pledge penalty. 

What do you think of the LEED Pledge?  

Photo credit: missrivs

Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
http://www.greenbuildinglawupdate.com/admin/trackback/263137
Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
James - November 4, 2011 11:41 AM

I would love to see an example (hypothetical or not) of where a contractor could be held liable under a non-performance clause in such an instance.

Chris - November 7, 2011 5:51 PM

Off hand, I can think of two:

1. Contractor fails to divert the required % construction waste from landfills under LEED Materials and Resources credit.

2. Contractor fails to implement measures stipulated in SMACNA Indoor Air Quality control guidelines in accordance with LEED Indoor Envoronmental Quality credit.

In both examples above, for Contractor to be held liable, requried LEED certification level would be missed by one point (or two if both were required and neglected by Contractor), which does happen.


Stuart Kaplow
Sustainability & Green Real Estate Attorneys
15 East Chesapeake Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21286-5306 USA
Tel 410-339-3910
Fax 410-339-3912
Email skaplow@stuartkaplow.com