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Illinois Weatherization Program Cited for Poor Workmanship, Erroneous Billing

The likelihood that some American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) green building projects would fail should not come as a surprise to Green Building Law Update readers.  Back in February 2009, I wrote about the the difficulties of administering the stimulus funds at state, county and municipal levels.  In January 2010, I highlighted initial problems … Continue Reading

Are You Prepared to Report Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

It’s an understatement to say environmentalists were disheartened by Senator Reid’s announcement last week that a comprehensive cap-and-trade bill would be tabled for the year.  But, fear not, environmentalists – and, be fearful, unprepared federal contractors – because the federal government will be regulating greenhouse gas emissions in other ways.   Back in October 2009, … Continue Reading

Public-Private Partnerships Support Green Building

States are facing significant budget gaps.  These budget gaps are going to negatively affect the green building industry.  States looking to shore up budgets will cut new construction and maintenance of existing buildings in the coming years.   But there is a solution: public-private partnerships.    Just prior to the economic downturn, the phrase "public-private … Continue Reading

Lessons From the Last Green Building Cycle

Despite my previous suggestion that the USGBC’s Greening the Codes could have done without the history of building codes, I do think it offers an interesting history lesson.  This paragraph caught my attention:    The energy crisis of the 1970s brought yet another topic to the national stage. The soaring costs of energy and a … Continue Reading

“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

When Should Green Building Regulations Be Vetoed?

I recently co-authored a chapter with Shari Shapiro of a soon-to-be-published book about green building law.  I am a regular reader Shari’s Green Building Law Blog and she is one of the authors who helped me launch my own blog. However, I am going to respectfully disagree with one of her recent posts regarding green … 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

Los Angeles Times Assails Weatherization Program

Back in January 2010, I said this:  "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." Not one month later, it … 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

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

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

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 Groups Oppose Green Building Regulations

These are strange times for the green building industry.  Last week, California prepared to vote on new green building codes that would improve energy efficiency, water use and waste reduction in the construction industry.  Normally you would anticipate that environmental groups and green builders would applaud these measures, right? Not quite.   "[P]arts of the state’s … 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

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

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

Would the Founding Fathers Have Supported LEED Mandates?*

You may be relieved to learn that I am temporarily done discussing LEED de-certification.  The USGBC will be releasing an addenda to the Minimum Project Requirements, at which time we will discuss this issue anew.  Until then, lets move on…to another LEED legal discussion.  One green building legal development that I, and others, have been … 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

Virginia to Establish Renewable Energy Incentive

On Monday we highlighted "headaches" that may arise from climate-related stimulus funding.  Cities and towns are struggling to come up with worthy programs for the funds.  Furthermore, the Department of Energy has warned officials that funding should go towards the long-term establishment of programs:  "Don’t use the entire amount of this money to set up … Continue Reading

Complaints About Green Stimulus Projects Emerge

It’s no surprise that there is intense competition for stimulus projects.  Competition can be good and result in more efficient construction.  But competition can also lead to complaints, disputes and even litigation.   Connecticut is experiencing intense competition for stimulus funding.   "There’s nowhere near the amount of money for individual projects that people thought … Continue Reading
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