Archives: Codes and Regulations

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FTC Settles Charges Over Deceptive Zero VOC Claims

Paint Can Label from Exhibit B in FTC Complaint
Four paint companies have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they deceptively promoted products as containing zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or as emission free, including during and immediately after application. Some promotions also made explicit safety claims. Specifically, the first FTC complaint alleges, In connection with the advertising, promotion, offering for sale, … Continue Reading

Attorney General’s End of Third Party Settlements is Good for the Environment

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on June 5, 2017 to all Department of Justice components and 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices prohibiting them from entering into any agreement in settlement of federal claims or charges that directs or provides for a settlement payment to non-governmental, third parties that were not directly harmed by the … Continue Reading

Retailers Pay Millions for Hazardous Waste Violations

Retailers across the nation are buttressing their trash disposal practices after Dollar General Stores and Big Lots Stores paid Millions of dollars to settle civil suits for environmental violations for the unlawful disposal of hazardous waste, including customer returned merchandise and batteries. Most businesses should have a solid waste management plan to provide staff with … Continue Reading

Solar Powered Advertisement is Deceptive

Billboard in Italian Train Station
A business installs photo voltaic panels on its roof to generate power, and advertises that it is “solar powered.”  The business, however, sells the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) that are generated by the solar power. Even if the business is near net zero for electricity generated by the solar panels, according to guidance from the … Continue Reading

Is the 2018 IgCC Doomed to Fail?

Last week the ICC and ASHRAE issued joint news releases on the status of the “unified green building code that could become the foundation for LEED certification” that will be published as the 2018 version of the International Green Construction Code. This blog regularly advances the postulate that green building is the ideal means of … Continue Reading

Prospering thru Green Building in a Changing Environment

I spoke to a gathering of construction industry attorneys the other day about changing environment of Federal government regulation portending huge business opportunities for green building. These were my prepared remarks for that talk. While much of the mass media hyperbole is focused on the new Administration’s 2018 “skinny” budget request of $5.7 Billion for … Continue Reading

The Opportunity for ENERGY STAR

While much of the media hyperbole has focused on the Trump Administration’s 2018 Budget request of $5.7 Billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, a reduction of $2.6 billion, or 31%, from the 2017 level of funding, little attention has been paid to specific priorities including the resultant opportunities for green building. One of the key … Continue Reading

Apply to be a Member of the ASHRAE Committee for Standard 189.1

ASHRAE is looking for new members to serve on the ASHRAE Project Committee for SSPC 189.1 Standard for the Design of High Performance Green Buildings Except Low Rise Residential Buildings. The deadline to make application for Project Committee membership is March 15, 2017. Standards produced by ASHRAE are consensus documents developed and published to define … Continue Reading

Deadline to Propose Changes to National Green Building Standard

Development of the 2018 version of the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) is now underway. The NGBS is a collaborative effort between the National Association of Home Builders and International Code Council, the NGBS also known as the ICC 700 provides “green” practices that can be incorporated into new homes, including high rise multifamily buildings, … Continue Reading

Is there Lead in the Water of your Green Building?

The subject of lead leaching from pipes and faucets into drinking water within buildings is not new. But the broad growth of green buildings, including green schools, that include water conservation strategies has the potential to negatively impact the quality of drinking water in those green building plumbing systems. To reduce indoor water consumption, LEED … Continue Reading

Legislature Overrides Veto of Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Increase

On February 2, 2017, the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates voted to override the veto of an increase the State’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, as enacted in the 2016 Maryland General Assembly session. Last May, Maryland Governor Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr., vetoed House Bill 1106, that was characterized as a “sunshine tax” to be … Continue Reading

California is a Model for PACE Loan Reform

California’s statutory changes to its existing residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program, that became effective January 1, 2017, may be a model for residential PACE programs across the nation. The first residential PACE program started in Berkeley, California in 2007. Today there are laws in at least 34 states that allow some form … Continue Reading

Green Building Transactional Due Diligence

As ever larger numbers of green buildings are bought and sold, due diligence related to the green features of commercial buildings takes on an increasing importance. But apparently most real estate due diligence checklists are stuck in the 1980s and while they address matters ranging from title and zoning to tenants and leases, as well … Continue Reading

FTC Order Restricts use of “All Natural”

The Federal Trade Commission issued a summary decision against California Naturel, Inc., for falsely advertising its sunscreen product as “all natural” in violation of Sections 5 and 12 of the FTC Act. In a December 12, 2016 opinion, written by Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, the FTC describes how the company promotes its “all natural” sunscreen on … Continue Reading

Less Climate Change Disclosure by Public Companies

Publicly traded companies are required to disclose material business risks to investors through regular filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Since February 8, 2010, the SEC has expressly required disclosure related to climate change. While it has been controversial, the SEC’s 2010 interpretive guidance, the Commission Guidance Regarding Disclosure Related to Climate Change, which … Continue Reading

Trump Election Can Make Green Building Great Again

Election day 2016 in which Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States and Republicans control both houses of Congress portends huge business opportunities for green building. As the Executive and Legislative Branches look to arrest existing environmental and energy policies while driving up growth and lowering taxes, enabling voluntary green building … Continue Reading

The Ramifications of this IgCC Enactment are of National Import

Update. On November 15, 2016, the Montgomery County Council adopted Resolution 18-669, voting to extend time until June 30, 2017 for Council action on Executive Regulation 21-15, Adoption of the 2012 International Green Construction Code (IGCC). A Planning, Housing & Economic Development Committee work session will be scheduled at a later date. On September 28, … Continue Reading

Organic on the FTC Agenda

The word “organic” as it relates to non-agricultural products is the topic of the October 20, 2016, roundtable sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This is a big deal. The roundtable will explore interpretations of organic claims for products that fall outside the scope of the USDA’s National Organic … Continue Reading

Cannabis Cultivation has Growing Environmental Implications

Cannabis cultivation is not new, but beginning in the 1990s when states began to legalize medical marijuana and recently as state laws evolved, decriminalizing and legalizing recreational use of cannabis, the burgeoning industry has brought with it environmental implications, including of water and energy use. Energy consumption for cannabis cultivation can be incredibly significant and … Continue Reading
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