The Mountain State will likely be going green in the very near future. On March 10, 2012, the West Virginia Legislature passed Senate Bill No. 76, known as the "Green Buildings Act" which requires new public facilities to be designed and constructed in compliance with the International Energy Conservation Code and the ANSI / ASHREA / IESNA Standard 90.1 - 2007. The bill is currently awaiting Governor Tomblin's approval.
Over the past several years, our Legislature has attempted to create more energy efficient design and construction standards. The major flaw with the prior attempts is that they relied almost exclusively on compliance with the LEED Rating System which provides neither an enforcement mechanism nor is it appropriate for all situations.
Fortunately, significant help was provided to the Legislature by way of the International Energy Conservation Code and the ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007. Unlike the LEED rating system, the IECC was written to offer a baseline code. It also complements many existing codes, and encourages the voluntary use of energy efficient building standards such as LEED, Green Globes, and other nationally recognized rating systems.
Without question, architecture and engineering are complex disciplines, and it is difficult to draft codes that are equally applicable to different building types, geographic regions, and climates. There is no "one size fits all" answer to the problem of increasing energy consumption and expense. It seems however, that this version of the Green Buildings Act, attempts to strike a balance between protecting our natural environment and providing the necessary tools to enforce sustainable construction.
Undoubtedly, there will be a learning curve with such technical and wide-sweeping changes. So, it has never been more important for contractors, design professionals, and other construction professionals to seek counsel from a member of Steptoe & Johnson?s Construction Law Team, where we are prepared to help you identify and reduce the risks you face, and provide advice on compliance with the new Green Buildings Act. And, without a doubt, industry professionals should become familiar with the IECC because ready or not we're going GREEN.
Don?t miss the upcoming presentation "Hidden Risks of Green Construction - Helping Design Professionals Avoid LEED-igation" at this year's CAWV Expo at the Charleston Civic Center, presented by AIA West Virginia, and featuring the author, along with S&J's Construction Team Leader, Eric Hulett. For more information, or to register, visit: http://www.wvexpo.com/page_Seminar.php.