The Green Building Bailout

Can green buildings save the economy? Maybe that’s a stretch, but green buildings do play a significant role in the country’s GDP. By 2010, the value of green building construction is projected to be $60 billion. Perhaps more important in these times, the government is recognizing that greening our schools, homes, and office buildings could put thousands of Americans back to work. According to the United States Green Building Council (“USGBC”), President Obama’s economic stimulus plan provides several billions of dollars for (1) modernization of public schools, with preferences or requirements for green improvement projects; (2) green improvements of federal buildings and developments; and (3) block grant funds for states, localities, and tribes for energy efficiency projects. (http://communicate.usgbc.org/newsletters/USGBC_Announcement/01-09.html.)

Given the public money flowing into green building, owners, contractors, and designers would be remiss in ignoring this opportunity. 

Green buildings present a great opportunity, but it’s important to remember that this relatively new industry brings its own sets of challenges. To ensure maximum communication between project participants and a successful green project, green building contracts should:

  1. Clearly delineate each party’s role and responsibility in producing the green outcome or certification desired; wherever possible, the green “outcome” should be reduced to clear, objective and quantifiable standards. 
  2. Require an integrated design process, which brings together all project participants early and often; and
  3. Mandate projects participants to develop procurement schedules for all green materials being placed into the facility.