If you ever question the value of green building certification, run a search for press releases touting LEED certification for new projects. I see hundreds of these releases every week. But if you are purchasing a LEED building or space, how can you ensure that it truly is LEED certified?
Fidelity National Financial (FNF) created the LEED Project Certification Data Report (LEED Report) to address this issue. The LEED Report allows parties to "obtain data regarding a LEED project’s certification status" for $1500 per project.
In the image, you can see the categories covered by the LEED Report. Of particular interest to me is the certification challenge status. Could you imagine purchasing a property or space without knowledge that it was going through a LEED certification challenge? The LEED Report presumably would prevent such a scenario.
I was also intrigued by the limited nature of the LEED Reports. FNF makes it clear that the LEED Reports are not an insurance product:
"The LEED Project Certification Data Report (Report) is not an insurance policy. The purpose of the Report is to provide informational services, not to allocate risk. . . . [FNF] obtains data from the database used by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) and delivers the data to the Ordering Party for the benefit of the Principal. [FNF] promises the Principal that the Report accurately reflects the information in the database. If [FNF] provides information that does not accurately reflect what is in the database, [FNF] has limited liability and has no obligation to defend the Principal. . . . [FNF] has no other liability and under no circumstances, under any dispute, will [FNF’s] liability to any Principal exceed $50,000."
Fidelity National Financial is primarily known as a title insurance company. Title insurance generally protects an owner from lawsuits arising from the ownership of a property. But the LEED Reports are simply informational in nature — they do not provide protection for an owner if problems arise out of a property’s LEED certification.
It seems there is an opportunity to create a LEED insurance product.
What do you think?