• D.C. Green Building Act - January 1, 2012 Update
  • February 7, 2012 | Authors: Christine A. Roddy; Paul A. Tummonds
  • Law Firm: Goulston & Storrs A Professional Corporation - Washington Office
  • As of January 1, 2012, the District of Columbia’s Green Building Act (“GBA”) requires that all new construction and major renovation of non-residential buildings greater than 50,000 square feet meet the LEED requirements. There are several important requirements of the GBA that developers should be aware of; however, the primary requirements to note are:

    (1) As of January 1, 2012, all new construction and major renovation of non-residential buildings greater than 50,000 square feet must satisfy LEED requirements within two years of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy;

    (2) On December 6, 2011, the DC Council passed Emergency Legislation that provides more flexibility with respect to the financial security requirement.  The GBA now allows developers the following options in an effort to secure compliance with the Act.

    • Provide evidence of cash deposited in an escrow account in a financial institution in the District in the name of the licensee and the District;
    • Provide an irrevocable letter of credit from a financial institution authorized to do business in the District;
    • Provide a bond secured by the applicant to ensure compliance; or
    • Submit a binding pledge that within 2 years of receipt of the certificate of occupancy the applicant will fulfill the current LEED standards for commercial and institutional buildings at the certified level.

    The last option may be the most attractive for developers as it allows them to proceed with development without providing cash or a letter of credit that would otherwise be required to ensure compliance with the terms of the Act.  Developers should note, however, that the fines for noncompliance with the pledge are steeper than they are for any of the other forms of financial security; in fact, they are 20% steeper than the fines for the cash escrow, letter of credit or secured bond.  The legislation does allow for three one-year extensions to be granted for good cause.