Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy


The recent emphasis on building design, construction, and performance has revealed legal challenges and risks an owner or project team may face when attempting to construct a “deep green” building. The intent of this article is to encourage and facilitate the development of deep green and high performing buildings by reducing perceived and actual risks as well as challenges associated with their development, construction, and operation. This article explores these risks and challenges through a discussion of specific examples from two case study projects located in Seattle, Washington. These examples 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 that the case study projects faced could be resolved through process improvements, the reader will note that solutions identified through the case studies are heavily weighted toward process. The authors’ recommendations, based on input from policy planners, construction lawyers, and leasing and operations professionals, are also heavily process-oriented. These recommendations include aligning code with municipal goals, integrating green codes, leading by example, leveraging existing regulations, developing demonstration ordinances (for policy planners), assigning risk reasonably, understanding appropriate responsibilities, encouraging an integrated process (for construction lawyers), and encouraging the use of green leases and collection of building performance data (for leasing professionals).

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