Tomorrow I will be in Nashville, Tennessee to talk to the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) about green building law.  It is great news that the green building industry and the people who are involved in green building projects on a daily basis are so interested in green building law. 

As most lawyers who have written or discussed green building law probably understand, I am going to be walking a fine line.  On the one hand, the industry is growing and people are incredibly protective of the certification systems, like LEED.  On the other hand, the industry and its rating systems are not perfect and are likely to contribute to problems and disputes. 

Thankfully, I don’t have to discuss the merits of the green building rating systems.  Instead, I will be discussing some of the legal implications, risks and liabilities that may arise from green building certification.  Here are some highlights:

  • Green building certification guarantees are risky.  I will discuss Shaw Development v. Southern Builders and then highlight the LEED guarantee being provided by ACE. 
  • Owners, architects and contractors should confirm that compliance with green building regulations is possible.  I will use the Washington D.C. Green Building Act and the Vancouver green roof ordinance as examples.
  • Green building risks are the real hidden risks.  I am particularly excited to discuss this topic because there is some breaking news on this front.  Check back on Wednesday for more on that story.

Notice I never once blame the green building rating systems.  The parties, projects and contracts that rely on the green building rating systems create the risk.  Sometime next week I will put up my presentation and you can see what I mean. 

Until then, what do you think?  What future green building risks are you focused on?