Here at the Law Offices of Stephen Bialkowski LLC, we represent New York and New Jersey developers, land and building owners, contractors, architects and similar parties in their efforts to develop, build or renovate private, public, residential and commercial buildings with environmental concerns in mind. Some aspire to complete projects that achieve special green construction certifications like LEED, Energy Star, National Green Building Standard, WELL Building Standard and others.
It is important to get a construction law attorney involved early in the process to help analyze options and set goals as well as to assist with compliance with certification requirements and with federal, state and local environmental, zoning and building regulations and laws.
It is a unique time to consider such projects, considering the Trump administration’s rapid lifting of environmental protections through deregulation. A recent article in the periodical Area Development discusses the importance of careful consideration of whether to invest in projects that might be allowed going forward, but that were not before the loosening of federal standards.
For example, the author contemplates that while the new EPA seeks to make building projects “easier to approve and build,” there is the potential for negative publicity and harm to reputation to an entity that takes advantage of relaxed regulations at the expense of environmental and health concerns. Despite what is happening in Washington, there is a growing “environmental consciousness across the U.S. and a demand for green construction that’s growing just as quickly.”
State and local environmental and zoning requirements that are more stringent than federal standards may make these decisions moot in many cases, especially in the NYC area.
According to the article, LEED and WELL standards have positive impact on lease rates and maintenance and may well be a “very competitive way to attract companies to fill those buildings at a higher rate,” potentially making an increase in initial cost worth it.
The reduction in energy bills associated with a green building over time also gives pause.
The Post and Courier reports that LEED certification is also proving lucrative in the single-family home market, with both New York and New Jersey in the top five states for numbers of homes with certification.