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Paul D’Arelli Calls San Francisco Green Building Ordinance “LEED on Acid”

In an article that we recently posted over at gbNYC, green building attorney Paul D’Arelli of the Greenberg Traurig law firm calls San Francisco’s new green building legislation “LEED on acid.” Mr. D’Arelli points out that San Francisco’s new legislation now penalizes developers who redevelop real property, holding them to a higher green standard than developers who are building on vacant parcels. For example, if a project involves demolition work, it must achieve an additional 10 percent in LEED points in order to comply with the ordinance. “There is no correlation required in terms of the extra points required to comply with the mandated 10 percent increase and the goals sought to be advanced in rehabilitating rather that redeveloping buildings, namely preserving embodied energy and materials in existing buildings and reducing the consumption of energy and materials in constructing new building,” D’Arelli writes.

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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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