In the past few weeks, the Northland Pines Third Party LEED challenge has exploded, the Washington Building Industry Association sued the State of Washington to enjoin their energy code from taking effect, and a private lawsuit which could potentially turn into green litigation emerged onto the scene. In other words, the wave of green litigation which I first predicted back in 2007 has arrived.
What does this mean?
- More third party challenges--For every building project, there are naysayers. Some will see the Northland Pines challenge as a mechanism for attacking potential development, either during the development process by threatening a challenge, or after the development is completed by filing one.
- Building interest group litigation mushrooming--If the BIAW challenge in Washington holds water, building interest groups nationwide will attack green building regulations where the only true path to compliance is through energy efficient HVAC equipment.
- Private litigation with a green tinge--As people occupy green buildings, typical construction challenges emerge. Expect these to incorporate challenges to the "greenness" of the building.
These suits will be complex, and will involve not only knowledge of LEED and green building, but also the energy codes and other ancillary regulations implicated in these suits. Green building law has arrived. Is your lawyer ready?