Following the construction industry and related legal topics in the United States.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Hidden Risks of Going Green

In a recent article entitled "The Hidden Risks of Green Buildings: Avoiding Moisture and Mold Problems", authors J. David Odom, Richard Scott and George H. DuBose of the Liberty Building Forensics Group, LLC caution owners and other parties thinking of building a "sustainable" or "green" building to pay close attention to the materials being used to determine whether the materials have been adequately tested to ensure that the materials not only qualify as sustainable or LEED certified materials, but also to ensure that the materials are durable and will last as long as other non-green materials. The authors note that "[w]e don't believe that anyone would deem a structure "sustainable" if it cannot survive the first five years without a major renovation because of moisture problems."

As with all buildings, the authors note that the most important components of a building to be scrutinized are the building envelope and the HVAC system. The authors conclude with several recommendations for dealing with the increased risk in using green designs including, 1) a technical peer review of the design focusing on the performance of the HVAC and building envelope systems, 2) adherence to institutional knowledge in the fields of humidity control, waterproofing and building envelope design and resistance against "building flush out" and other practices that have fallen out of favor, and 3) new green products should be examined and evaluated in order to weigh the green benefit against the likely performance of the product, particularly in areas of the building where the risk of failure and the resulting cost to remedy the failure are the greatest. (This entry published by Culley Carson, a member of Womble Carlyle's construction law practice group.)

Source: The Hidden Risks of Green Buildings


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