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Legal Hurdles Faced by Deep Green Buildings

In 2013, Kathleen O’Brien and Elizabeth Powers co-authored an article in the Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy (WJELP), in collaboration with construction attorney Nicole DeNamur, on the legal hurdles faced by deep green buildings.  The purpose of writing the article was to encourage and facilitate the development of deep green, high performing buildings, as well as reduce perceived and actual risks, along with the challenges associated with their development, construction, and operation.  It explores these hazards and hurdles through a discussion of specific examples taken from The Bullitt Center, designed to meet the LBC; and the Bertschi School Science Wing, a certified Living Building; as well as a few other leading PNW projects.

The risks and challenges are arranged in two broad categories: (1) the process of achieving a deep green, high performing project, and (2) specific aspects of the technology employed to achieve deep green goals. As most technical challenges the projects faced were process related, the solutions identified through the case studies are heavily weighted toward process improvements. The published recommendations, based on input from policy planners, construction lawyers, and leasing and operations professionals, are also heavily process-oriented.  Read more about the case study projects and the solutions for implementing such deep green building strategies, no matter your location, in the article on the WJELP website.

The article appeared in the November 2013 issue of the WJELP as a combined effort of interviews and industry expertise provided by two dozen people who were either involved with the projects or with regional efforts to promote green building.  Kathleen and Elizabeth extend their deepest thanks to all of the collaborators for the time and thought they contributed to this article.

The Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy is a project of the University of Washington School of Law and GreenLaw.  WJELP is a student-run and peer-reviewed journal publishing twice a year and supporting an investigative and interdisciplinary approach to analyzing environmental legal issues important to the Pacific Northwest and beyond.  WJELP is committed to showcasing the ideas advancing environmental law & policy in the region and across the country.

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