Green Building Legal Issues – LEEDigation

The New York State Bar Association has an interesting new article in its February 2012 Journal about green building and legal issues arising from it. Entitled “Leedigation” – The Latest on Leed and Green Building Legal Issues, the article, written by Earl K. Cantwell, Esq., goes into depth about the Leed green building rating system and then sets out to give some pointers on what construction firms and attorneys who deal with Leed Buildings should do.

The latest Leed rating system (number 3), which was effective as of 2009, is based on the following five primary and two secondary categories:

Sustainable Sites: 26 points
Water Efficiency: 10 points
Energy & Atmosphere: 35 points
Materials & Resources: 14 points
Indoor Environmental Quality: 15 points

LEED Innovation Credits: 6 points
Regional Priority Items: 4 points

The article suggests that there are some evolving LEED issues which may give rise to significant legal concerns:

Insurance Coverage Should Protect Again Potential LEEDigation.
Contracts Should Clearly Allocate Green Responsibilities
False or Overstated Green Marketing Statements (“Greenwashing”)
Identify Role Specific Green Risks
Liability for Failure to Document and Build the Book
Post Construction Reporting

To read the full text of the NYSBA article, pick up the Journal or register with the NYSBA.