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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

Los Angeles Times Assails Weatherization Program

Back in January 2010, I said this:  "Government officials and citizens are going to expect results form the significant investments in the green movement (particularly in an election year). In 2010, the nation will begin to decide if investments in the green building and renewable energy industries were worth it." Not one month later, it … Continue Reading

Where the Heck are the Green Jobs?

I often get the same question about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: where are the green jobs and projects?  A recent Wall Street Journal article sheds light on that question: "The Obama administration’s economic-stimulus program has delivered about a third of its total $787 billion budget during its first year, much of that to … Continue Reading

Can a Green Schools Program Be Inequitable?

In Ohio, there is LEEDigation brewing.  But it’s not the LEEDigaiton that I anticipated.   The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) requires that new OSFC-funded schools achieve LEED Silver certification.  The Washington-Nile school district is balking at the additional costs incurred as a result of the LEED certification requirement.   When a school project is pursuing … Continue Reading

LEED Funding for Green School Causes Construction Delay

Last Thursday, during a webinar on green building legal issues, I stated the following: "I really believe schools will be a hotbed for green defect claims, in terms of energy efficiency, and other green building components.  Schools rely on tight budgets. . . .  Be careful what you are promising on these green school projects." … Continue Reading

Important Revision to the D.C. Green Building Act

In December 2009, an Amendment to the D.C. Green Building Act of 2006 was introduced by the D.C. Council.  Labeled the "Green Building Technical Corrections, Clarification, and Revision Amendment Act of 2009," this Amendment includes many revisions to the original Green Building Act.  One of those revisions involves the "performance bond" requirement: "’Sec. 6. Bond … Continue Reading

Green Building Groups Oppose Green Building Regulations

These are strange times for the green building industry.  Last week, California prepared to vote on new green building codes that would improve energy efficiency, water use and waste reduction in the construction industry.  Normally you would anticipate that environmental groups and green builders would applaud these measures, right? Not quite.   "[P]arts of the state’s … Continue Reading

Green Building Regulations To Face Increased Scrutiny

A coalition of forest product companies ("the Coalition") has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding, in part, the United States Green Building Council’s preference for Federal Stewardship Council-certified (FSC) wood products. The Coalition has asked the FTC Bureau of Competition to provide guidance to the USGBC and other rating systems regarding the … Continue Reading

USGBC Accused of Anti-competitive Practices

We may be settling into 2010, but one unresolved legal development in 2009 could have a broad impact on the future of the green building industry. On October 20, 2009, the Coalition for Fair Forest Certification ("the Coalition") filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (pdf), alleging anti-competitive behavior by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) … Continue Reading

Can Green Building Regulations Keep Up?

The Energy Star program, responsible for certifying energy efficient products, is about to undergo some major changes. Recently, the program, run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE), has come under fire from a number of groups: "Various stakeholder groups, such as manufacturers, utilities and even Consumer Reports , the … Continue Reading

Reporting Green Jobs is Tricky

If you are a contractor lucky enough to have won a stimulus project, one of the pesky requirements attached to the project is reporting the number of new jobs created by the project.  Many builders and contractors have been wondering how exactly to do that.  Finally, at long last, the White House has provided clarity:  … Continue Reading

Would the Founding Fathers Have Supported LEED Mandates?*

You may be relieved to learn that I am temporarily done discussing LEED de-certification.  The USGBC will be releasing an addenda to the Minimum Project Requirements, at which time we will discuss this issue anew.  Until then, lets move on…to another LEED legal discussion.  One green building legal development that I, and others, have been … Continue Reading

A Green Building Breakup

Dear Feebate, I’m sorry to be writing this.  First, I have to say, it’s not you, it’s me. You have done nothing wrong. I remember when we met back at Greenbuild ’08. The Portland officials were very eager to show you off and I fell for you hard. You were everything I dreamed of in … Continue Reading

Virginia to Establish Renewable Energy Incentive

On Monday we highlighted "headaches" that may arise from climate-related stimulus funding.  Cities and towns are struggling to come up with worthy programs for the funds.  Furthermore, the Department of Energy has warned officials that funding should go towards the long-term establishment of programs:  "Don’t use the entire amount of this money to set up … Continue Reading

Complaints About Green Stimulus Projects Emerge

It’s no surprise that there is intense competition for stimulus projects.  Competition can be good and result in more efficient construction.  But competition can also lead to complaints, disputes and even litigation.   Connecticut is experiencing intense competition for stimulus funding.   "There’s nowhere near the amount of money for individual projects that people thought … Continue Reading

Concern Remains Regarding Some LEED Mandates

In addition to clarifying the LEED 25% guideline, Rob Watson also had some interesting points regarding regulations that required LEED certification.*  First, Watson made a great point about governments requiring municipal projects to achieve LEED certification:  "As far as municipalities requiring their own buildings to go LEED, that’s an owner decision and no problem.  Municipally-funded … Continue Reading

Stimulating Green Guide to the ARRA

Back in March, I gave a presentation about green building funding available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("ARRA").  I had planned to convert the presentation to a guide of sorts, but more pressing matters arose.    I have now discovered what I hope the guide would have looked like if I had a month … Continue Reading

Why LEED Mandates Do Not Add Up

On Wednesday, we discussed the LEED 25 percent rule: the LEED rating system was only intended to apply to the top 25 percent of buildings. It is important to remember this premise when considering what is happening in the green building industry today. Many cities are mandating LEED certification for public and private buildings. For … Continue Reading

D.C. Councilmember: Lack of Green Incentives Unfortunate

The Washington D.C. government has recently began incorporating Social Media 2.0 into its public outreach.  Agencies have Facebook pages, some are on Twitter and officials have even taken to participating in online chats with the public.  I was very excited to learn that Councilmember Mary Cheh was conducting one of these online chats last Friday.  … Continue Reading

Energy Department Releases Funding Amounts

[Sometimes, it’s better not to reinvent the wheel.  As I was preparing this week’s posts, I came across Lane Burt’s analysis of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) stimulus funding.  Lane, an NRDC Policy Analyst, agreed to let me use his post today.  Check out Lane’s blog – it’s a great resource for energy policy analysis.]    … Continue Reading

Gov. Kaine Supports LEED and Green Globes

While we have all (or at least I have) been focusing on the federal stimulus and its effect on the green building industry, an interesting development occurred in Virginia that may impact the future of a statewide green building regulation. In past posts, I highlighted Governor Tim Kaine’s attempts to pass a statewide green building … Continue Reading

Hawkins: Green Building Performance Bond Requirement is Viable

Last week, I had the pleasure of testifying before the D.C. Council regarding green building policies in the district.  As mentioned in my post last week, the focus of my testimony was the Green Building Act’s "performance bond" requirement.  Before my testimony, I had the opportunity to hear George Hawkins, Director of the District Department … Continue Reading
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