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Yellowstone Project Achieves LEED Gold

Today I am interviewing Karen Bates Kress, President of the Yellowstone Park Foundation.  Yellowstone National Park just completed construction of a LEED Gold Old Faithful Visitors Center. The Foundation played an important role in raising funds for the green and educational aspects of the project .  While this is not a traditional public-private partnership, it is … Continue Reading

Public-Private Partnerships Are a Bi-Paristan Issue?

I just finished up a presentation to the Construction User’s Roundtable (i.e. users of construction services) regarding public private partnerships (P3s). P3s are defined by the National Council of Public Private Partnerships as: "a contractual agreement between a public agency (federal, state or local) and a private sector entity. Through this agreement, the skills and … Continue Reading

Do Davis-Bacon Wage Issues Affect Your Stimulus Project?

Across the country, government officials are scrambling to award and spend American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding before upcoming deadlines.  If you are a contractor or subcontractor lucky enough to work on one of these projects, congratulations!  Now comes the tough part.  Working on a federal or state-funded project brings a myriad of regulatory … Continue Reading

Illinois Weatherization Program Cited for Poor Workmanship, Erroneous Billing

The likelihood that some American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) green building projects would fail should not come as a surprise to Green Building Law Update readers.  Back in February 2009, I wrote about the the difficulties of administering the stimulus funds at state, county and municipal levels.  In January 2010, I highlighted initial problems … Continue Reading

GSA Pushes For Reforms to Green Bulding Certification

The green building industry has been besieged the last few years with stories about buildings not performing as anticipated.  It appears the federal government has taken notice, and is pushing reforms to green building certification, based on comments by one high-ranking General Services Administration official:   “’One of the things that I tease the USGBC … Continue Reading

Are You Prepared to Report Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

It’s an understatement to say environmentalists were disheartened by Senator Reid’s announcement last week that a comprehensive cap-and-trade bill would be tabled for the year.  But, fear not, environmentalists – and, be fearful, unprepared federal contractors – because the federal government will be regulating greenhouse gas emissions in other ways.   Back in October 2009, … Continue Reading

Lessons From the Last Green Building Cycle

Despite my previous suggestion that the USGBC’s Greening the Codes could have done without the history of building codes, I do think it offers an interesting history lesson.  This paragraph caught my attention:    The energy crisis of the 1970s brought yet another topic to the national stage. The soaring costs of energy and a … Continue Reading

What Is a “Zero Environmental Footprint”?

What Is a "Zero Environmental Footprint"?  This is an important question for government contractors because the General Services Administration (GSA) recently proposed that the federal government move to a zero environmental footprint. Unfortunately, I’m not sure anyone has defined this apparently new term.  The GSA’s announcement doesn’t define "zero environmental footprint."  None of the articles … Continue Reading

GSA Proposes Zero Environmental Footprint

Executive Order (EO) 13514 continues to have enormous implications for the green building industry.  As you’ll recall, EO 13514 requires that federal agencies comply with a number of green building stipulations, including 95% of all applicable contracts meet sustainability requirements.  While the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) invested over $25 billion in green building … Continue Reading

Design Flaws Impact Offshore Wind Energy Project

From time to time, I like to step outside the green building industry and look at construction of renewable energy projects.  While windmill construction is nothing new, countries are looking for new opportunities to develop wind energy.  One new type of development has certainly caught my attention from a risk management standpoint.    A recent … Continue Reading

Federal Construction To Require Project Labor Agreements

For many in the green building industry, federal projects have provided an opportunity for much needed work as private development has stalled.  However, contractors should be aware of a significant change to federal construction contracts coming down the pike. On April 13, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order that will result in new requirements for … Continue Reading

Buiding Not LEED Anymore, Eh?

On Saturday, I was having a leisurely breakfast with my wife when I foolishly flipped on my blackberry, opened my email and stared at the following headline: Comox Rec Centre not LEED anymore.  Breakfast was essentially over.  Never before had I seen the potential for LEEDigation stated so clearly in a headline.   The Comox … Continue Reading

Energy Efficiency Deduction Could Benefit You

I spend a good deal of time discussing federal green building projects, so it only seems natural that I pass on information regarding what could be a very beneficial program in that arena.    Chris DeVolder at 360 Architecture (the designers of the JE Dunn Headquarters) recently informed me about a tax incentive program stemming … Continue Reading

White House, Agency Spar Over PACE Program

A nation-wide Property-Assessed Clean-Energy (PACE) bond program has been proposed, but not without its critics.   As you may recall, PACE bonds are a new financing mechanism that can be used to retrofit homes and commercial buildings, or install renewable energy: "PACE is a bond where the proceeds are lent to commercial and residential property … Continue Reading

Is the Energy Star Program Doomed?

I have previously written about informal complaints regarding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Star Program for appliances.  Based on recent findings of a Government Accountability Office report, it seems much larger systemic problems exist within the Program: "In a nine-month study, four fictitious companies invented by the accountability office … Continue Reading

Conflicts Between Anti-Terrorism Standards and Green Building

On Monday, I discussed conflicts between military construction and green building certification.  Green building certification was originally created for commercial office buildings, which can create some odd applications in military construction.  While we have have already discussed energy efficiency, bicycle racks and HVAC systems, there is one component of military construction that conflicts directly with … Continue Reading

Do LEED APs Get Higher Wages?

Douglas Reiser, who publishes at the Builders Counsel Blog, recently posted an interesting question regarding Davis-Bacon wage determinations for green building projects: "What do you think about Davis-Bacon worker/payment classifications for ‘green building’ specialists or professionals? Should there be a classification for your project’s LEED AP? How about for any independent raters?  I am thinking … Continue Reading

Why Do Federal Agencies Seek Green Building Certification?

I had never quite understood why federal agencies were so focused on green building certification.  That was, until I read this: "U.S. agencies are required to have 15 percent of their existing building inventory incorporate sustainable elements by 2015 under Executive Order 13423, signed by George W. Bush in 2007.   To comply with the order, … Continue Reading

Federal Agency Adopts Green Globes Certification

During green building presentations that include legal views, I usually expect that someone in the crowd will not agree with my views of the green building industry.  Usually, the unhappy audience member cannot fathom that there are potential risks associated with green building.  Last week, though, I received a much different reaction when I presented … Continue Reading

Does Your Construction Project Require Davis-Bacon Wages?

[I have said many times that the legal principles that will apply to green building projects will be very similar to existing legal principles in the construction law field. Going forward, on Fridays we will be reviewing legal developments from the construction industry that most likely will be applied to green building projects.]   If … Continue Reading

GSA’s Green Building Role in the Federal Government

While preparing for my presentation "Legal Considerations When Building Green" for the National Research Council, I contemplated what proposals I wanted to make to the federal agency representatives that would be in attendance.  The federal government is pushing federal investment in green buildings through $25 billion allocated from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and … Continue Reading
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