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Tag Archives | green building legislation

Lessons on Predicting Building Performance from New Yankee Stadium

During the first homestand of the season at $1.6 billion New Yankee Stadium, baseballs flew out of the ballpark at an unprecedented rate; the 20 dingers that were clocked during last weekend’s series against the Cleveland Indians were the most ever in a four-game set to open a new stadium in baseball history. Last season, Old Yankee Stadium saw 160 home runs; the current pace would yield a mind-boggling 351 round-trippers for the entire 2009 season. The Yankees did not anticipate that their new ballpark would turn into a Little League bandbox; dimensions at the new park are the same as they were across the street and engineers performed a wind study in advance of construction that did not suggest any major changes in currents or speeds. So, after witnessing several routine fly balls to right field land halfway into the lower deck last Saturday, it struck me that there are some parallels between what’s been happening thus far at the new ballpark in the Bronx and some of the building performance issues that we frequently discuss here at GRELJ.

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SB 1473: El Dorado County Fighting California Green Building Legislation

In the aftermath of last year’s AHRI et al. v. City of Albuquerque litigation, there has been an increased level of discussion with respect to how municipalities and states should craft green building policy and legislation. Although I have not been following what’s been taking place in California all that closely, a recent article in the Sacramento Bee noting one California county’s reaction to a newly enacted piece of state-level green building legislation caught my eye. California’s Senate Bill 1473 took effect on January 1 and requires cities and counties in California to collect, on behalf of California’s Building Standards Commission, a building permit application fee. The fee is based on the building’s valuation as determined by the pertinent local building official and is assessed at $1.00 for every $25,000.00 of value. Cities and counties are entitled to keep up to 10 percent of the fee in order to cover their own administrative and enforcement costs; the rest of the funds are sent to a special revolving fund established by SB 1473 which the Commission will use to “fund development of statewide building standards, with emphasis on green building standards.” Officials in El Dorado County (which is about halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe) believe that the fee is illegal, calling it “a tax without calling it a tax.”

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New Law in California Links Transportation Funding to Smart Growth*

The Golden State’s hotly debated Climate Change Smart Growth Bill, or SB375, which links land use and transportation planning with climate change, will change the way California communities are built and help provide residents a pedestrian-friendly lifestyle near jobs, shopping and entertainment and could ultimately serve as a blueprint for similar pieces of legislation in other states.

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Surety Industry Continues to Critique Performance Bond Requirements of D.C. Green Building Act

I have often used Washington, D.C.’s 2006 Green Building Act as a paradigm for green building legislation that is enacted quickly, fails to define key terms, or fails to address other important legal ramifications that were not contemplated by the drafters. A little over a year ago over at gbNYC, we linked to a letter that Mark McCallum, general counsel for the National Association of Surety Bond Producers, had written to the D.C. City Council expressing his concerns over certain provisions of the Act. I had been wondering where the NASB’s efforts stood because certain provisions of the Act are scheduled to take effect beginning in January. Accordingly, I was interested to recently see an article in the Washington Business Journal noting that the D.C. Department of the Environment has created a working group in cooperation with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to address Mr. McCallum’s concerns.

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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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