Builders Chafe at Green Standards

The State of Connecticut will enact a new green building code in January, and builders are already calling it "awkward" and "unworkable".
December 16, 2008, 5am PST | Tim Halbur
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The code requires all project budgeted over $5 million dollars to conform to LEED standards.

"The primary problem with the portion of the law pertaining to commercial construction, said Barry Trilling, a lawyer who heads the climate change and sustainable development practice at Wiggin & Dana in Stamford, is that it was drafted without industry input, and therefore doesn't acknowledge the intricacies of the marketplace.

For one thing, said Mr. Trilling, who also works with the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, the statute uses a dollar threshold to determine project eligibility. It would be more meaningful, he said, to go by square footage. In southeastern Connecticut, a $5 million project may be major construction, but in affluent Fairfield County, he noted, 'that may be someone's garage.'

Nor does the law acknowledge that the LEED certification process is lengthy and may extend past the project's completion, said Nick Everett, a senior vice president at the A.P. Construction Company in Stamford, which is building a public library to LEED standards in Darien.

'If you follow the implication of that,' Mr. Everett said, 'you wouldn't be able to occupy the building until you got that certification. That's kind of goofy.'"

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Published on Friday, December 12, 2008 in The New York Times
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