My good friend, and great Washington State construction attorney, Doug Reiser (@douglasreiser) recently posted a great set of thoughts at his Builder’s Counsel Blog. Doug’s inspiration for this great post was an article posted by ENR magazine outlining a proposal from the Department of Energy that Congress pass a statute requiring “sustainable design, siting and construction methods” on all federal new construction and renovations. Doug then goes on to discuss how the proposal is a great first step, though he opines that it falls short of the mark on particular protocols to implement its requirements.
I agree that in some ways this proposal is one that has merit. However, the devil is in the details. Without a particular protocol for implementing this noble goal, the proposal is hard to evaluate, so I won’t do so here.
More importantly, this is one more reason why contractors and design professionals need to learn to speak the language of sustainability particularly in times of recession. Whether we like it or not (and I am on the “like it” side of this), sustainable or “green” construction is here to stay. Despite the various legal, bonding and business issues that we construction lawyers discuss (some of which are coming home to roost), the government regulators from the Federal level on down to local zoning boards are requiring or soon will require such energy efficiency measures.
Doug’s great post is just one more reminder that in order for contractors and other construction professionals to survive and flourish they will need to become familiar with sustainable building and their local regulatory environments. Having a construction attorney as a business partner in this endeavor will greatly assist you to make sure that you deal with both the risks and the rewards of the new world of sustainable building.
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