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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

Mold can be Arrested in the Marketplace

Extensive mold contamination on ceiling and wall
Concern about exposure to indoor mold has been increasing as the public becomes sensitive to issues of building occupant health and wellbeing. Mold problems in buildings have in large measure been exacerbated by changes in building codes and construction practices that began in the 1970s. In the quest to be more energy efficient, buildings are … 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

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

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

Defamation Case over Global Warming Claim set for Trial

Michael E. Mann is a well-known climate scientist whose research in studying the “paleoclimate,” or ancient climate, has featured prominently in the politically charged debate about climate change. Dr. Mann filed an action for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress on October 22, 2012 against Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), Rand Simberg, National Review, Inc. … 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

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

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

Junk Science And Heat Island Effect Revealed at Greenbuild

Among the most interesting exhibitors at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo this week in Los Angeles (.. and okay, the virtual reality experience from the View glass people is pretty wild) may be the Asphalt Pavement Alliance challenging what we thought we knew about urban heat island effect with peer reviewed research from Arizona … 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

New Federal Floodplain Regulations Rewrite 100 Year Floodplain

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is proposing to rewrite the longstanding 100 year floodplain standard for federally funded projects such that most building would now have to be 2 feet freeboard. In the name of resilience, reliability and green this proposed regulation will result in significant additional first costs for affected building. FEMA is … Continue Reading

Is California Going to Ban Cows in the Name of Climate Change?

The California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board has issued a “Proposed Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy” that includes the penultimate statement, California’s dairy and livestock industries account for roughly half of the State’s total methane emissions and about five percent of the State’s overall GHG emissions. About half of the emissions from the State’s … Continue Reading

Historic Church Appeals to Higher Authority in Solar Dispute

The First Parish in Bedford, Unitarian Universalist church has appealed from a decision of the Historic District Commission of the Town of Bedford that denied First Parish’s application for a certificate of appropriateness to install solar panels on its Meetinghouse roof. The complaint filed Superior Court for the County of Middlesex, Commonwealth of Massachusetts claims … Continue Reading
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