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First Ever LEED Challenge Denied

Up in Wisconsin, a group of concerned citizens challenged the LEED certification of a high school under the Green Building Certification Institute’s (GBCI) Certification Challenge Policy.  The LEED challenge came to light in December 2009 although it was originally filed in 2008.  Last week, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) denied the LEED challenge.  … 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

Conflicts Arise Between Military Construction and Green Building

As federal agencies continue to push green building certification, some federal projects are running into conflicts when building green.  Take for example, a recent article I reviewed regarding military construction and LEED certification.  The basic premise of the article is that green building rating systems and military construction do not always work together.  "’An office … 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

Green Building Industry to Face More Scrutiny

The green building industry is entering an interesting period. In 2009, the green building movement was embraced as a solution to economic and environmental problems. "Green jobs" were touted as a way to improve the economy while reducing unemployment. Investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency measures was championed as a way to reduce greenhouse … Continue Reading

Uncertainties Plague Geothermal Heat Industry

Geothermal heat pumps continue to gain popularity as an alternative energy source.  This energy technology doesn’t come without uncertainties though.  In fact, as ENR recently described it, there are significant problems with the geothermal industry:  "[M]any of these systems are not performing as touted, especially cleverly hyped geothermal heating systems that are plagued with inflated … Continue Reading

Green Energy Project Causes Earthquakes?

It’s always amazing to me the unexpected consequences that result from apparently benign activities.  As new green building and energy innovations and materials are incorporated into projects, there is always the possibility of an unexpected consequence.   Take for instance a geothermal energy project in California.   Geothermal projects involve mile-or-more-deep wells drilled into underground reservoirs to tap … Continue Reading

Contractors Need Green Building Contracts Too

We previously reviewed a green building contract that can be used to manage the architect-owner relationship. But what about contractors? As a member of the AGC ConsensusDOCS committee, I had the pleasure of collaborating on the ConsensusDOCS 310 Green Building Addendum, which was recently released: On Nov. 10, ConsensusDOCS released the construction industry’s first and … Continue Reading

What Does a Green Building Contract Look Like?

In order to manage risk associated with a design and construction project, it is important to draft an appropriate contract. There are a number of standard contracts available for the construction industry. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) publishes the AIA construction contracts to manage the architect-owner relationship. The Association of General Contractors (AGC) has … Continue Reading

White House Developing Emissions Reporting for Contractors

On Friday, we discussed Navy contracting requirements for tracking "energy efficiency" and "energy footprints."  When I first learned of these requirements, I was reminded of Executive Order 13514.  We have already discussed Executive Order 13514 in terms of the green building industry, but the Order also contains provisions relating to greenhouse gas emissions. I don’t … Continue Reading

Green Building Litigation All But Certain

The primary theme of Green Building Law Update is green building litigation will develop.  To date, one of the rare examples of green building litigation is Shaw Development v. Southern Builders, a case that involved a project’s failure to achieve LEED certification in a timely matter.  Other examples of green building disputes are sparse. But … Continue Reading

A Recipe for Green Building Litigation

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) projects have resulted in extremely low bids.  These low bids could be the result of improved efficiency in the construction industry; or the low bids could be the result of cut throat competition.     Simultaneously, the ARRA includes $250 million to investigate (PDF) and audit ARRA projects.  These … Continue Reading

How to Make a Green Building Attorney Queasy

Reminder:  Don’t forget to register for Green Building Law Update’s Birthday Happy Hour this Thursday!  Energy Ace Inc., an Atlanta-based sustainability consulting firm, has publicly announced it will guarantee LEED certification for its projects.  Of course, there are limitations to the guarantee:   "Energy Ace is guaranteeing LEED™ certification on projects where the firm is … Continue Reading

Can You Guarantee LEED Certification?

Reminder:  Don’t forget to register for Green Building Law Update’s Birthday Happy Hour this Thursday!   This week, we are going to be looking at an issue near and dear to me: guarantees of LEED certification.  Two publications from last week made clear to me the wide variety of views on the issue: (1) Washington Business … Continue Reading

GSA Stimulus Bids Far Lower Than Expected

I have previously speculated that stimulus green building projects will be at risk of underbidding.  Now we have real evidence.  Remember the $5.5 billion that the General Services Administration received from the stimulus to fund green building construction and retrofits? "Bids came in far lower than we expected, but the upside is that because of … Continue Reading

This Post is Really Important and Is Not for the Faint of Heart

Disclaimer:  If you are sensitive to or frightened by new risks and liabilities in the green building industry, please skip this post. On Monday, I highlighted the USGBC’s decision to create requirements to ensure a building’s performance matches modeled energy savings.  I finished the post by asking, what happens to projects that do not comply?  … Continue Reading

Why Do Non-Public CIRs Mean LEEDigation?

If there was a LEEDigation doomsday clock, I would move it up about 5 minutes towards midnight based on the following decision by the USGBC.*  Real Life LEED recently reported that the USGBC has decreed that, starting June 26, 2009, Credit Interpretation Requests (CIRs) will no longer be applicable to all projects:  "Effective June 26, … Continue Reading
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