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Congress Creates Tenant Star But Does Little Else

In a continued period of falling energy prices, for oil and natural gas as well as renewables, and in an era when energy use in the U.S. has not increased in decades (despite the increase in population), Congress passed an energy bill. ... Tenant Star will present business opportunities and may some day be a market driver in the commercial real estate sector… Continue Reading

Do Not Sell the RECs and Claim the Building Uses Renewable Energy

Owners of building that generate onsite renewable energy, with solar panels or otherwise, and sell the renewable energy credits (RECs) should not claim the building "uses renewable energy." The uncertainty of the solar panel market and the fast changing industry that is in large measure supported by RECs, constantly raises questions about what marketing claims a building owner can make about renewable energy installations on their property.… Continue Reading

Defense Authorization Act Lifts Ban on LEED Gold and Platinum

President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2014 in Honolulu last Thursday and while most observers noted that the bill cracks down on sexual assaults in the military and eases restrictions on transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay, the bill also is a huge win for the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building rating system.… Continue Reading

FTC To Ramp Up Enforcement of Environmental Claims

The Federal Trade Commission will begin to ramp up enforcement of environmental claims .. The coming crackdown on environmental claims follows an update of the FTC's Green Guides last year that set forth the commission's current views on environmental marketing to help business avoid making unfair or deceptive claims.… Continue Reading

Comment on the Permit to Kill Eagles with Wind Turbines

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is soliciting comments on the issuance of a take permit "for recurring eagle mortalities" .. It has been suggested that comments should be submitted on the double standard of issuing permits for killing bald eagles with wind turbines while charging .. power companies for electrocuting birds on power lines.… Continue Reading

Federal Green Building Code Creates Unnecessary Risks and Costs

Someone recently asked me why I was baffled about the Department of Defense’s decision to use both LEED and a green building code.  Here are two reasons:  1.  The policy is a waste of taxpayer money. 2.  The policy unnecessarily increases risks for government contractors. LEED + Green Building Code = Duplicative Costs This concept is so logical … Continue Reading

Not April Fool’s: Defense Department to Adopt Green Code and LEED

In last week’s post, I stated that the Army was abandoning LEED certification in lieu of a green building code based on ASHRAE 189.1.  But it is now clear to me that I misinterpreted the testimony of Dr. Dorothy Robyn, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense. Instead, the Department of Defense is going to simultaneously require compliance with its … Continue Reading

Army Abandons LEED Certification

Correction:  It is now clear to me that I misinterpreted the testimony of Dr. Dorothy Robyn, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense.  Instead, the Department of Defense is going to simultaneously require compliance with its green building code and with LEED certification. Read more here:  Defense Department to Adopt Green Code and LEED   We have entered a … Continue Reading

Destiny USA Reaches the Green Bonds Finish Line

I apologize for the recent hiatus here at Green Building Law Update.  If you want to see what I have been up to, check out ClaimKit (  Now, on to green building legal news. You may recall that in 2011, I published many, many articles on the Destiny USA project.  Here’s a quick summary of the Destiny USA … Continue Reading

Army To Continue Pursuing LEED Gold and Platinum

I had been hearing whispers that the Army planned to ignore the recently-enacted LEED ban, and now we have proof. Back in December 2011, GBLU reported on legislation that banned the Department of Defense from pursuing LEED Gold or Platinum certification.  As reported by BuildingGreen, despite the new law, the Army is reiterating its commitment to … Continue Reading

Congress Restricts LEED Spending

It has been a rough year for Congress.  The Republican and Democrats, the House and Senate — no one can seem to agree.  Unless we are talking about green buildings.  In June, I reported on the Department of Defense Reauthorization bill that passed the House of Representatives.  In the legislation, the Department of Defense was … Continue Reading

Could Solyndra Happen To Green Building Policy?

Of course it could — it already has.  But first lets recap the Solyndra saga.  Solyndra is the solar panel manufacturer in California that qualified for a $535 million federally-backed loan.  Since receiving the loan, the price of solar panels has plummeted – good news – which has squeezed the margins of manufacturers like Solyndra.  … Continue Reading

Does the Congressional LEED Ban Make Sense?

One of the great parts about Green Building Law Update is interacting with astute readers. One recent comment has forced me to rethink the proposed Department of Defense Reauthorization Bill ban on LEED certification. In the comments to last week’s post, reader R. David Chambers asked an important question: Chris – your quoted section says … Continue Reading