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“Greening the Codes” Is a Good Start

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) recently published a white paper entitled "Greening the Codes" that is simultaneously very helpful and somewhat frustrating.  The most important information is buried on page seven after an unnecessary review of the history of building codes.  But if you can get through the first six pages, you will … Continue Reading

Buiding Not LEED Anymore, Eh?

On Saturday, I was having a leisurely breakfast with my wife when I foolishly flipped on my blackberry, opened my email and stared at the following headline: Comox Rec Centre not LEED anymore.  Breakfast was essentially over.  Never before had I seen the potential for LEEDigation stated so clearly in a headline.   The Comox … Continue Reading

What are the Broader Implications of DC’s Green Performance Bond?

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Chris Birk of Surety Bonds Insider to discuss surety issues and the green building industry, particularly related to the D.C. Green Building Act.   As a quick reset, the D.C. Green Building Act of 2006 requires owners put up "performance bonds" that guarantee LEED certification for certain projects.  … Continue Reading

Does Your Construction Project Require Davis-Bacon Wages?

[I have said many times that the legal principles that will apply to green building projects will be very similar to existing legal principles in the construction law field. Going forward, on Fridays we will be reviewing legal developments from the construction industry that most likely will be applied to green building projects.]   If … Continue Reading

Where the Heck are the Green Jobs?

I often get the same question about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: where are the green jobs and projects?  A recent Wall Street Journal article sheds light on that question: "The Obama administration’s economic-stimulus program has delivered about a third of its total $787 billion budget during its first year, much of that to … Continue Reading

Tysons Corner Bonus Density Program Criticized

I used to work in Tysons Corner, Virginia. It is a fascinating place for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the area supports 105,000 jobs but only 17,000 residents. One of the consequences of this job-to-resident ratio is a daily traffic jam as workers leave for the day. Government officials … Continue Reading

D.C. Keeps PACE To Support Energy Efficient Homes

Do you remember Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) bonds? If you recall, in a June 2009 post, I proclaimed my undying affection for PACE bonds, which can serve as a financing mechanism to retrofit homes and buildings: “PACE is a bond where the proceeds are lent to commercial and residential property owners to finance energy … Continue Reading

Can a Green Schools Program Be Inequitable?

In Ohio, there is LEEDigation brewing.  But it’s not the LEEDigaiton that I anticipated.   The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) requires that new OSFC-funded schools achieve LEED Silver certification.  The Washington-Nile school district is balking at the additional costs incurred as a result of the LEED certification requirement.   When a school project is pursuing … Continue Reading

Important Revision to the D.C. Green Building Act

In December 2009, an Amendment to the D.C. Green Building Act of 2006 was introduced by the D.C. Council.  Labeled the "Green Building Technical Corrections, Clarification, and Revision Amendment Act of 2009," this Amendment includes many revisions to the original Green Building Act.  One of those revisions involves the "performance bond" requirement: "’Sec. 6. Bond … Continue Reading

Green Building Regulations To Face Increased Scrutiny

A coalition of forest product companies (“the Coalition”) has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding, in part, the United States Green Building Council’s preference for Federal Stewardship Council-certified (FSC) wood products. The Coalition has asked the FTC Bureau of Competition to provide guidance to the USGBC and other rating systems regarding the … Continue Reading

USGBC Accused of Anti-competitive Practices

We may be settling into 2010, but one unresolved legal development in 2009 could have a broad impact on the future of the green building industry. On October 20, 2009, the Coalition for Fair Forest Certification ("the Coalition") filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (pdf), alleging anti-competitive behavior by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) … Continue Reading

New York City Backs Off Retrofit Requirement

Well, that did not last long.  Two weeks ago, we wrote about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to require retrofits of existing buildings.  After vehement opposition, Mayor Bloomberg has backed off of his plans to require retrofits:   "The plan, which the owners said was too costly, called for all buildings of 50,000 square feet or more … Continue Reading

Cities Will Soon Regulate Energy Use

The future of green building regulations usually starts in big cities. Cities like San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and New York City were some of the first to incorporate green building certification into regulations and building codes. The next frontier in green building regulations will be energy performance and New York City seems to be at … Continue Reading

Can Green Building Regulations Keep Up?

The Energy Star program, responsible for certifying energy efficient products, is about to undergo some major changes. Recently, the program, run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE), has come under fire from a number of groups: "Various stakeholder groups, such as manufacturers, utilities and even Consumer Reports , the … Continue Reading

Allegations Emerge of High Formaldehyde Levels in Green Buildings

When I have previously speculated as to green building lawsuits, I never imagined that an industrial hygienist would play a significant role. Industrial hygienists are scientists and engineers who study health and safety of people in the workplace and the community. Linda Kincaid is an industrial hygienist in California. She is also a citizen-reporter for … Continue Reading

District of Weatherization

Reminder:  Don’t forget to register for Green Building Law Update’s Birthday Happy Hour Sometimes, my fair city of Washington, D.C. can drive me crazy. There is no doubt we have our issues. But one thing Washington, D.C. has going for it is its push to become more green. D.C. is at the forefront of the … Continue Reading

Reporting Green Jobs is Tricky

If you are a contractor lucky enough to have won a stimulus project, one of the pesky requirements attached to the project is reporting the number of new jobs created by the project.  Many builders and contractors have been wondering how exactly to do that.  Finally, at long last, the White House has provided clarity:  … Continue Reading

Has Canada Figured Out Green Roof Insurance, Eh?

A few weeks ago, Toronto announced a mandatory green roof requirement, which my fellow bloggers dutifully covered.  When I read about the green roof mandate, I thought of another Canadian city with a similar program. You remember the Vancouver Catch-22, right? Many British Columbia jurisdictions, including Vancouver, began mandating green roofs.  Simultaneously, the Homeowner Protection … Continue Reading

A Green Building Breakup

Dear Feebate, I’m sorry to be writing this.  First, I have to say, it’s not you, it’s me. You have done nothing wrong. I remember when we met back at Greenbuild ’08. The Portland officials were very eager to show you off and I fell for you hard. You were everything I dreamed of in … Continue Reading

Some Cities Are Not Ready for Green Stimulus Funding

Back on February 20, 2009, I said the following about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: While Republicans, Democrats and the President argued over the stimulus package for weeks, the real battle may arise when state agencies and officials attempt to divide up the stimulus funding and choose the projects that receive funding. The real … Continue Reading

Concern Remains Regarding Some LEED Mandates

In addition to clarifying the LEED 25% guideline, Rob Watson also had some interesting points regarding regulations that required LEED certification.*  First, Watson made a great point about governments requiring municipal projects to achieve LEED certification:  "As far as municipalities requiring their own buildings to go LEED, that’s an owner decision and no problem.  Municipally-funded … Continue Reading

The Green Impact Zone

As readers may know, I am a die hard Kansas Jayhawk basketball fan.  Our main rival is the Missouri Tigers.  So if I discuss something that originates from Missouri, you better believe that the Missourians have come up with something extraordinary.  U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver has established a plan for an innovative "Green Impact Zone" … Continue Reading
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