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Why 'green buildings' may soon become the new norm in construction

It's becoming increasingly common these days to see commercial real estate developers utilizing a process known as green construction.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, it may conjure up images of responsible construction practices that take waste and pollution generation into consideration. As it turns out, however, this is only one aspect of the overall concept.  

In green construction, the classical building design concepts of economy, utility, comfort and durability are expanded upon to include both resource efficiency and environmental responsibility. Specifically, the idea is to build a structure that minimizes the impact of the built environment while also protecting both the natural environment and human health throughout the life cycle of the building. 

By way of illustration, consider that a green building could be constructed using sustainable materials (i.e., recycled materials or materials produced using renewable resources) and/or create an indoor environment that is designed to reduce exposure to pollutants. It could also feature a landscape design that reduces pollution and waste (i.e., planting of trees that don't require much watering), and/or solar panels to help generate electricity.

From a purely economic perspective, green construction has been proven to promote economic growth, as people who work in green buildings are generally happier and healthier. Furthermore, the costs of running and maintaining these structures can be considerably lower over their life cycle.

As beneficial and exciting as it can be for a commercial real estate developer to undertake a green building project, it's important to remember that it may present unique concerns or issues with which they are unfamiliar.

As such, it would likely be incredibly beneficial for parties in these scenarios to consider retaining the services of an experienced and skilled construction law attorney who can address these concerns, explain the issues and help protect their best interests throughout the duration of the project.

Our blog will continue to explore this topic in future posts.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency, "Green building: Frequent questions," October 2014     

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