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Tag Archives | green building case law

Shaw Development v. Southern Builders: America’s First Green Building Litigation

Over the past two years, I have written extensively over at gbNYC about the potential for litigation arising out of green construction projects. The country’s first reported green building litigation – Shaw Development versus Southern Builders – is an excellent example of how hidden green building risks can present unconventional legal issues to construction industry stakeholders and their counsel. It is critical to note that the case does NOT discuss the contractor’s failure to achieve LEED certification on behalf of the owner (as many articles referencing my original post at gbNYC have incorrectly asserted). Rather, it suggests the importance of accurately translating green building regulatory requirements into construction documents.

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AHRI et al. v. City of Albuquerque Litigation Demonstrates Dangers of Green Building Legislation

Back in early October, Chief District Judge Martha Vazquez of United States District Court for the District of New Mexico granted a preliminary injunction in favor of a number of HVAC industry plaintiffs who are challenging the legality of certain Energy Conservation Codes in the city of Albuquerque. The suit alleges that applicable federal legislation already exists for the same equipment that the Codes purport to regulate, thereby preempting the proposed codes. Over at gbNYC, we frequently discuss the problems with green building regulatory schemes, many of which have been crafted quickly and without consideration of broader legal ramifications. Judge Vazquez’ opinion, in fact, noted this very issue, pointing out that “the drafters of the code were unaware of the long-standing federal statutes governing the energy efficiency of certain HVAC and water heating products and expressly preempting state regulation of these products when the code was drafted and, as a result, the code, as enacted, infringes on an area preempted by federal law.”

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