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Sordid Green Bulding Litigation Arises in Minnesota

This is as confusing and sordid as any green building dispute I have seen.  Consider yourself warned.  Over the holidays, Michael Anschel informed me that the the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC) had sued Minnesota GreenStar and filed a restraining order against using a green building standard.  Despite that simple statement, there is … Continue Reading

Is the Only Solution Public-Private Partnerships?

Many months ago, I promised a two-part series on public-private partnerships.  Part one was previously published and today I wrap up the series with post two.  As we head in to 2011, public-private partnerships will play a vital role in replacing the non-existent state funds for necessary public works projects.  Here is part two on … Continue Reading

Public-Private Partnerships Are a Bi-Paristan Issue?

I just finished up a presentation to the Construction User’s Roundtable (i.e. users of construction services) regarding public private partnerships (P3s). P3s are defined by the National Council of Public Private Partnerships as: "a contractual agreement between a public agency (federal, state or local) and a private sector entity. Through this agreement, the skills and … Continue Reading

Do Davis-Bacon Wage Issues Affect Your Stimulus Project?

Across the country, government officials are scrambling to award and spend American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding before upcoming deadlines.  If you are a contractor or subcontractor lucky enough to work on one of these projects, congratulations!  Now comes the tough part.  Working on a federal or state-funded project brings a myriad of regulatory … Continue Reading

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
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