A practice by any other name...
Sustainable. Renewable. Green. Whatever name you choose to assign, industry leaders know that creating new spaces—or maintaining old ones—requires a new way of thinking. Green building has moved in from the margins to become a standard way of doing business. No longer just fashionable, it has become good business policy. Local, state and federal regulations are proliferating and consumers now demand sustainability. These efforts stretch from the development and construction of new buildings and communities to retrofitting existing structures. From creating lease agreements that fit today's business requirements to implementing green business practices or land conservation, new rules are in play.
The attorneys and consultants in Brownstein's Green Building practice are working with policy makers and regulators, with landlords and tenants, and with cutting edge non-profit and industry groups. We are involved in the conversations that shape standards and incentives. We counsel corporations, organizations and individuals through the nuances of regulation and help maximize value.
Our core team is led by three LEED AP attorneys who have been at the forefront of green building since its evolution into the modern vernacular, working on major developments as they arise throughout the west. Adding a cross-practice approach, members of our natural resources, renewable energy, and corporate groups have experience that contributes to our work in the green arena.
- Les Lo Baugh was the lead attorney for the City Center project in Las Vegas, the largest project ever certified by the USGBC.
- Carolynne White's expertise is in working with local governments at the city and county level, particularly as it relates to land use entitlements and permitting, as well as regulatory advocacy.
Our attorneys are familiar with all of the various regulations, standards and criteria related to energy efficiency and green building, including USGBC/LEED, Energy Star, Green Globes, BOMA Energy Efficient Program (BEEP), and others. Several of our attorneys have served on advisory committees related to the implementation of California's groundbreaking greenhouse gas emissions legislation, AB 32. We have attorneys who are currently reviewing and commenting on USGBC tools for implementing the LEED for Neighborhood Design (LEED-ND) program and the USGBC Agent's Authority documentation.
Reaching across the various practice areas in our firm, we offer counsel on green initiatives related to:
- Public policy
- Land use and zoning
- Renewable energy
- Air quality
- Environmental regulation
- Real estate
- Climate change
Below is a brief overview our attorneys' experience related to green building and sustainability issues:
- Obtaining LEED and other certifications, including protest and negotiations for denial of certification
- Making recommendations regarding appropriate certification
- Green leasing
- Environmental review/CEQA/NEPA
- Federal, state, local statutory compliance
- Acquisition/disposition due diligence
- Allocation of risk/liability relative to green construction
- Allocation of tax credits, incentives, other benefits
- Maximizing credits/incentives
- Corporate advice, including company formation, contracts, and mergers and acquisitions
- Reporting requirements/compliance
- Advising lenders, equity investors and others seeking to invest in and underwrite green projects
- Advocating to pass, modify or defeat legislation and regulations to assist clients in obtaining tax credits, certifications or other approvals, or to change the law
- Contracting/assigning liability
- Construction defects litigation
- Failure to obtain certification; failure to perform to projections; loss of certification
- Allocation of benefits of incentives among parties
- Purchasing green power or alternative energy – negotiating contracts
Walking the Walk
Our dedication to sustainability is more than just a client focus. Our firm has recently engaged in a number of activities designed to reduce its consumption of energy and other resources, and we are working to educate our own personnel on the importance of sustainability.
Three of the firm's offices are located in LEED Certified buildings:
- Las Vegas – LEED NC – Platinum
- Denver – LEED EB – Gold
- Los Angeles – LEED NC – Gold
The five floors Brownstein occupies in its Denver offices served as the pilot project for the building's owner in seeking LEED EB - Gold certification, including implementation of a groundbreaking composting program for office lunchrooms.
In addition, the firm recently made official its longstanding commitment to keeping its own business practices environmentally sustainable with the announcement that Brownstein is the first law firm to sign on to the California State Bar’s Eco-Pledge. We are presently working with the bar associations in our other states to create and implement similar programs.