Green Building Law Update

SEC Alters Environmental Disclosure Requirements for First Time in 30 Years But

Green Building Law Update

A final rule the SEC adopted on August 26, 2020 and effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register may be more significant for what is not in the rule. The rule is silent on ESG disclosures, including climate risk.

Selling a House with Solar Panels is Fraught with Peril

Green Building Law Update

There are nearly 2 Million houses in the U.S. with solar panels installed on the roof and that number was reached just 3 years after the 1 millionth installation. It can be perilous to fail to properly address rooftop solar panels at the time of sale of a house.

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Court Adopts New Evidentiary Standard for Science

Green Building Law Update

In 2020 when science and politics appear to have collided in a car wreck, confidence of the public in scientists is at an all time low. That observed, the public does not often think about the role courts have in accepting scientific theories.

I Just Read my 1000th Phase I Environmental Site Assessment this Year

Green Building Law Update

For those concerned about the state of the environmental industrial complex during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, I can report that last Friday I reviewed my 1,000th Phase I Environmental Site Assessment this year.

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You Can't Improve Construction Safety from Inside a Filing Cabinet

How mobile technology can mitigate risk, save money, and provide a competitive advantage.

More Than Green Buildings, Green Roads

Green Building Law Update

If green building is going to repair the planet it will have to include green roads. Over 65% of the impervious surfaces in the U.S. are related to transportation (e.g., roads, parking lots, sidewalks, and driveways), with the vast majority being roads. There are 4,180,817 miles of roads in the U.S.

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Low Carbon Concrete for the First Time Required by Law

Green Building Law Update

The negative environmental impact of concrete, the most common man made substance on Earth, has not been meaningfully responded to in 2020. Cement use in concrete is the largest single material source of greenhouse gas emissions in building.

Net Zero Certification Program Announced by USGBC

Green Building Law Update

Much as NASA developed dozens of life changing and useful inventions that benefitted all as it raced to the moon, USGBC may be the catalyst for new, cutting edge technologies in the race to net zero buildings.

A Force Majeure Decision during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Green Building Law Update

There has been much speculation and supposition about the interplay of force majeure provisions in leases and other contracts in response to government orders closing businesses during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, but now there is an authoritative court decision that may provide persuasive authority.

COVID 19 Commercial Building Liability

Green Building Law Update

With all 50 states now in some stage of reopening from coronavirus pandemic closures, many commercial real estate owners are questioning if they can be liable for damages when someone, whether an employee of the business tenant or someone else, claims to have contracted COVID-19 at their building.

Why Smoking Costs Employers More Than They Realize

Your employees are smoking, and at a cost of $7,000 per year for each employee who smokes, that adds up - fast! This free report will show you how an effective cessation program pays for itself.

179D Tax Deduction Allocated from Government Buildings

Green Building Law Update

On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation reviving the Section 179D energy efficient commercial building tax deduction and while much has been written about the much needed boost to green building, little has been said about the enormous benefits available from government owned buildings.

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Maryland Schools will No Longer be LEED Certified

Green Building Law Update

In response to legislation enacted by the Maryland General Assembly in 2018, overriding a veto by the Governor, commencing last week new public school building no longer has to be LEED certified or the like.

When Trees Sue for their Own Environmental Preservation

Green Building Law Update

In the new decade American environmental law will likely expand to include you being sued by the trees. I don’t mean being sued by the Lorax or someone else who “speaks for the trees” but rather the trees will have standing to sue to confront environmental degradation and the like.

New Maryland Real Estate Laws from the 2020 Legislative Session

Green Building Law Update

The 71 day session of the Maryland General Assembly was for the first time since the Civil War cut short from the prescribed 90 days (. of note, the legislature has met for 90 days since the predecessor, appointed not elected, General Assembly of Maryland was first called together in 1635 in St. Mary’s).

Maryland is First State to Legislate Permitted Use of PFAS

Green Building Law Update

Prior to the just concluded session of the Maryland legislature, the State’s laws and regulations were silent with regard to PFAS chemicals including PFOA.

LEED can Help Mitigate Legal Risks in ESG Disclosures

Green Building Law Update

Public companies in the U.S. find themselves at a dynamic time of emergent environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) disclosures. Vocal socially conscious investors, activist stockholder environmental proxy proposals, and the like are driving companies to make ESG statements.

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Is There Lead in the Drinking Water of Your Green School?

Green Building Law Update

EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree that there is no known safe level of lead in a child’s blood. Lead is harmful to health, especially for children.

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New BREEAM In Use Version in a Changing World

Green Building Law Update

Last week BRE Global announced that the “BREEAM USA In-Use Version 6 for Commercial and Residential” green building rating system has launched. In addition to improvements to the prior commercial building rating system BREEAM In-Use now includes residential for the first time (accepting that existing multi-family building is a very much underserved sector).

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Bird Friendly Building now the Law in Howard County

Green Building Law Update

Howard County, Maryland has become the first jurisdiction in the state and one of few places in the country to pass a mandatory “bird-friendly design” law for new construction of privately owned buildings.

New Lead (Pb) in Soil Standard Now Effective in Maryland

Green Building Law Update

The EPA has described lead as the number one environmental public health hazard in the U.S. And despite that the CDC has in the past identified childhood lead poisoning prevention since 1971 as 1 of 10 great U.S. public health achievements which has included success in reducing human exposures on average, the amount of lead used within the U.S. has since that date actually increased. There is little debate that no amount of lead is safe.

Migratory Bird Treaty Act Will Apply Only to Intentional Takes

Green Building Law Update

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a rule clarifying that the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act only extends to conduct intentionally injuring birds. Conduct that results in the unintentional (incidental) injury or death of migratory birds is not prohibited under the act.

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FERC Decision Puts State Renewable Portfolio Standards At Risk

Green Building Law Update

In the ongoing conflagration between “reliable power” and “clean energy” many may have missed when last month federal energy policy declared reliability the winner with renewable energy subsidies (e.g., state renewable portfolio standards) the loser.

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Phase l Assessments for Tenants are the Hottest Environmental Issue in 2020

Green Building Law Update

Top 10 Environmental Blog Posts for the Roaring ‘20s

Green Building Law Update

As we begin the new decade of the Roaring ‘20s we are incredibly excited about the prospects for environmental law. We are supremely confident that our business philosophy of “environmental risk as an opportunity” remains right for the times.

Greenbuild – The Target Rich Environment for Green People

Green Building Law Update

I am often asked, “how can I expand my green building business?” And I have offered the same response for more than a decade – attend the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (. yes, you will have to talk with people while you are there).

179D Tax Deduction Brought Back to Life thru 2020

Green Building Law Update

This past Friday night while aboard Air Force One the President signed legislation reviving the 179D energy efficient commercial buildings tax deduction, providing an enormous and much needed boost to domestic green building.

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Four New LEED Pilot Credits Respond to COVID-19

Green Building Law Update

This blog post is an update to my June 6th post, Two New LEED Pilot Credits Respond to COVID-19 , describing that the U.S. Green Building Council has now added two additional Pilot Credits responding to the novel coronavirus. You may reasonably infer that I have posted an update (.

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2018 IgCC is Not in Use Anywhere. A Detailed Analysis of Why?

Green Building Law Update

The 2018 International Green Construction Code was released on November 8, 2018 but more than a year later, it has not been adopted anywhere.

With Over $3.6 Trillion in Value You Should Pay Attention to GRESB

Green Building Law Update

For the uninitiated GRESB assesses the sustainability performance of real estate and infrastructure portfolios worldwide. GRESB is the global environmental, social and governance (ESG) benchmark for real estate assets.

RELi Could be Standard Practice in Nearly Every Real Estate Transaction

Green Building Law Update

RELi 2.0, a comprehensive rating system that provides strategies and tools for resilient building and design, is expected to be launched on Monday, November 12th. The launch of RELi 2.0

Two New LEED Pilot Credits Respond to COVID-19

Green Building Law Update

America is reopening including physically opening its buildings and the U.S. Green Building Council has announced that LEED will play a role in confronting risk in the post coronavirus pandemic era. Last week Mahesh Ramanujam, the President & CEO of USGBC announced in a published letter that the “second generation at USGBC will focus on our relevant and reimagined vision: Healthy people in healthy places equals a healthy economy.”

Greenbuild Clearly Showed the State of LEED is Strong

Green Building Law Update

This post is a compilation of the highlights from the just completed Greenbuild International Conference and Expo that took place last week in Chicago. Possibly more accurately stated, this is a report on the state of the LEED green building rating system. The state of LEED is strong.

EPA Rolls Back Proposed “Waters of the United States” Definition

Green Building Law Update

Last Thursday the EPA and Department of the Army announced that the agencies are repealing a 2015 rule that had proposed to expand the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.

LEED Prerequisite Now Prohibits Smoking Cannabis

Green Building Law Update

The U.S. Green Building Council issued a LEED Interpretation in 2018 ruling, “smoking of cannabis is considered a form of smoking for the purposes of both the interior and exterior smoking provisions of the LEED Prerequisite Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control.”. The LEED prerequisite prohibits smoking outside the building except in designated smoking areas located at least 25 feet from all entries and operable windows.

The New and Improved 2020 ICC 700 National Green Building Standard

Green Building Law Update

The 2020 version of the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) is now available for free download and public use. You care about this because the NGBS is the most used green building standard in the United States. As of April 1, 2020, more than 216,000 residential dwellings have been certified to the NGBS through NGBS Green, the third-party certification program administered by Home Innovation Research Labs.

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ESG, including Advantaged by Green Building, Requires Risk Oversight

Green Building Law Update

Investments by individuals and institutions driven by environmental, social and governance matters continue to remain front and center in the minds of boards of directors, government regulators and the media.

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Green Globes New Multifamily Rating Systems Respond to the Market

Green Building Law Update

On July 11 the Green Building Initiative launched the Green Globes Multifamily for New Construction and Green Globes Multifamily for Existing Buildings.

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RELi Could be Standard Practice in Nearly Every Real Estate Transaction

Green Building Law Update

RELi 2.0, a comprehensive rating system that provides strategies and tools for resilient building and design, was approved last week and is being launched on Monday, November 12th. The launch of RELi 2.0

Supreme Court Permits State Law Claims Against Superfund Property

Green Building Law Update

In an instructive environmental law decision last week, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the federal Superfund statute (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) does not preclude owners of adjacent contaminated land from pursuing state laws claims for money damages for nuisance, trespass and strict liability, but any cleanup of that land cannot be taken in the absence of EPA approval.