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 gas emissions and increase energy security. With the nation buying into the green movement, the Obama Administration and Congress were able to pass a $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that included at least $25 billion for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
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. Back in February 2009, I pointed out the potential issues that may arise when states and local jurisdictions attempt to manage ARRA-funded green building programs. Stories are beginning to emerge of states mismanaging energy efficiency funds from the ARRA. Federal agencies are expressing confusion with new green mandates. In 2010, states and federal agencies will face pressure to monitor, investigate and audit ARRA green building and renewable energy projects. On Wednesday and Friday, we will look at two states and a federal agency that have been criticized for lack of oversight of ARRA green building programs.
As government entities face pressure to closely monitor ARRA projects, contractors involved in ARRA green building projects must remain diligent to ensure compliance.