State and local governments have enacted a variety of incentives to encourage energy efficient “green” design and construction practices. Projects owned or leased by government authorities are often subject to mandatory green requirements. Private development is often encouraged to go “green” through contractual or tax-related incentives. Promoters of green building features often tout the cost savings associated with energy-saving features or the increased marketability of a property if it is able to achieve a certain green building certification standard.

Green building projects can often go astray in a number of different ways, with adverse legal consequences for the project participants. This Reed Smith Client Alert summarizes in a high-level fashion, some of the more common legal issues affecting green building participants that have emerged in recent case law in this developing field. These issues are divided into a few broadly-defined categories, based upon the position of the project participant involved.