Skip to Content
Menu Toggle

What does green building entail?

Green building, also known as sustainable building, involves the use of practices, materials, and designs that promote the efficient use of resources and reduce the negative impact of construction on the environment. This approach to building is essential in mitigating the effects of climate change and reducing energy consumption.

In environmental law, green building involves adherence to environmental laws and regulations, including the Florida Building Code, which mandates that all facilities meet specific energy and water efficiency standards. It also involves complying with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program, which sets building sustainability standards.

One of the most crucial aspects of green building in environmental law matters is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through using renewable energy sources and implementing energy-efficient systems and appliances. Furthermore, constructing buildings with recycled or locally-sourced materials and using sustainable landscaping practices also contribute to green building.

Under Florida and federal law, there are several examples of green building projects. The installation of solar panels on buildings, construction of LEED-certified buildings, and green roofs are some examples of green building practices that align with environmental law regulations.

Need help regarding environmental due diligence, permitting, mitigation, or compliance? Schedule your consultation today with a top environmental law attorney.

In Florida, which laws and regulations apply to green buildings?

In Florida, several laws and regulations apply to green buildings. For example, the Florida Building Code mandates the use of energy-efficient systems in buildings and sets specific standards for water conservation. The Florida Green Building Coalition also provides a certification program for builders who adhere to sustainable building practices.

The Florida Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act require state buildings to meet specific energy and water efficiency standards. This act also provides incentives for the construction of renewable energy systems.

The federal government also provides regulations that apply to green buildings. For example, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 provides tax incentives for installing renewable energy systems, while the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 sets standards for energy efficiency in federal buildings.

Furthermore, the LEED certification program is a benchmark for sustainable building practices, and many developers and builders in Florida voluntarily adhere to these standards.

What are common issues regarding green building that lead to litigation?

The following issues are among the most common in actions regarding green building in environmental law matters:

  • Building code violations: Many green building disputes arise from alleged violations of building codes or failure to obtain the necessary permits. These violations may involve inadequate insulation, improper window installation, or failure to comply with energy efficiency standards.
  • Breach of contract: Green building litigation may arise when a contractor or developer fails to meet the agreed-upon sustainability standards or fulfill contractual obligations related to green building practices.
  • Misrepresentation or fraud: Green building claims may arise from misrepresentations or false advertising regarding the sustainability of a building or construction materials used in a project.
  • Negligence or professional malpractice: Environmental law claims may arise from allegations of negligence or professional malpractice by architects, engineers, contractors, or other professionals involved in the green building project.
  • Property damage: Claims may arise from damage caused by faulty construction or defective building materials used in a green building project.
  • Personal injury: Environmental law claims may arise from personal injury caused by exposure to harmful substances or inadequate ventilation in green buildings.

Common legal defenses raised against claims related to green building include:

  • Compliance: Defendants may argue that their green building practices complied with all applicable building codes, permits, and other regulations.
  • Contributory or comparative negligence: Defendants may argue that the plaintiff contributed to their injury or damages, reducing or eliminating the defendant’s liability.
  • Statute of limitations: Defendants may argue that the plaintiff filed too late and is thus barred by the statute of limitations.
  • Lack of standing: Defendants may argue that the plaintiff lacks standing to bring the claim.
  • Causation: Defendants may argue they were not responsible for the plaintiff’s injury or damages.
  • Damages: Defendants may argue that the plaintiff suffered no damages or that the defendant’s actions did not cause the damages suffered.

When a set of facts is appropriate for legal intervention, there are many paths a claimant may take. We are value-based attorneys at Jimerson Birr, which means we look at each action with our clients from the point of view of costs and benefits while reducing liability. Then, based on our client’s objectives, we chart a path to seek appropriate remedies.

To determine whether your unique situation may necessitate litigation, please contact our office to set up your initial consultation.

What are effective measures to minimize the risk of litigation over green building?

The increased concern for environmental conservation has led to an upsurge in green building projects in Florida. However, with the ever-changing regulations surrounding green building, developers and businesses face litigation for non-compliance. The following measures can help minimize litigation risks:

  • Conduct thorough research: Before embarking on any green building project, conduct extensive research on the applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Ensure that you are aware of all requirements and obtain all necessary permits.
  • Work with experienced professionals: Hire experienced and knowledgeable professionals, including architects and engineers, to ensure your project complies with all the applicable laws and regulations.
  • Maintain detailed records: Keeping detailed records of all aspects of the green building project can prove compliance with all the requirements.
  • Regular inspections: Conduct periodic inspections to ensure the project complies with all the applicable laws and regulations. These inspections can also help identify and correct any non-compliance issues early.
  • Consistent communication: Maintain open communication with all stakeholders in the green building project, including contractors, subcontractors, and regulators. Ensure all parties know the applicable laws and regulations and work together to ensure compliance.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I use recycled materials in my green building project?

Yes, using recycled materials is encouraged in green building projects, provided they meet the applicable requirements and regulations.

  1. What penalties can I face for non-compliance with green building regulations?

Penalties for non-compliance with green building regulations can include fines, revocation of permits, and even legal action.

  1. Can I make changes to my green building project after obtaining a permit?

After obtaining a permit, the relevant regulatory body must approve any changes to a green building project. Failure to obtain approval for changes can result in non-compliance and potential legal action.

Have more questions about an environmental law-related situation?

Crucially, this overview of green building does not begin to cover all the laws implicated by this issue or the factors that may compel the application of such laws. Every case is unique, and the laws can produce different outcomes depending on the individual circumstances.

Jimerson Birr attorneys guide our clients to help make informed decisions while ensuring their rights are respected and protected. Our lawyers are highly trained and experienced in the nuances of the law, so they can accurately interpret statutes and case law and holistically prepare individuals or companies for their legal endeavors. Through this intense personal investment and advocacy, our lawyers will help resolve the issue’s complicated legal problems efficiently and effectively.

Having a Jimerson Birr attorney on your side means securing a team of seasoned, multi-dimensional, cross-functional legal professionals. Whether it is a transaction, an operational issue, a regulatory challenge, or a contested legal predicament that may require court intervention, we remain tireless advocates at every step. Being a value-added law firm means putting the client at the forefront of everything we do. We use our experience to help our clients navigate even the most complex problems and come out the other side triumphant.

If you want to understand your case, the merits of your claim or defense, potential monetary awards, or the amount of exposure you face, you should speak with a qualified Jimerson Birr lawyer. Our experienced team of attorneys is here to help. Call Jimerson Birr at (904) 389-0050 or use the contact form to schedule a consultation.

Jimerson Customer Service

We live by our 7 Superior Service Commitments

  • Conferring Client-Defined Value
  • Efficient and Cost-Effective
  • Accessibility
  • Delivering an Experience While Delivering Results
  • Meaningful and Enduring Partnership
  • Exceptional Communication Based Upon Listening
  • Accountability to Goals
Learn more
Jimersonfirm Awards
Jimersonfirm Awards
Jimersonfirm Awards
Jimersonfirm Awards
Jimersonfirm Awards
Jimersonfirm Awards
Jimersonfirm Awards
we’re here to help

Contact Us

Jimerson Birr