Green Contractors: What it Means to Go Green

        Liability Exposures for Green Contractors


A large majority of lawsuits against parties involved in green construction stem from the fact that the building does not function as promised after completion. This could be because of faulty energy sources, poor design or higher energy costs than anticipated. Often, the client will claim that because of a contractor’s negligence, the finished product does not measure up to green standards and thus does not give them the return on investment they expected. To avoid these situations, it is first important to understand how the U.S. government arrives at a building’s green rating.

In the United States, the dominant standard is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating, which is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. Commercial buildings that are LEED certified not only have lower operating costs and provide a healthier, safer environment for occupants, they also allow the owner to qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives. In addition, owners of green buildings receive a reputational boost, as they are publically demonstrating their commitment to the environment and their social responsibility. Clients have a lot at stake and would very likely file a claim if they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for a green building, only to have it fall short of LEED certification.

Green building is a growing trend, as businesses want to do their part to help the environment while lowering energy costs at the same time. Plus, green building is becoming increasingly more difficult to avoid because federal, state and municipal governments are starting to mandate it for new residential and commercial construction.

Jumping into the green movement might seem like a lucrative and logical step for your business to take. Before you go green, educate yourself to avoid costly lawsuits and common liability exposures for those engaging in green construction.