As I sit down to write my annual list of resolutions for contractors, I am amazed at how much things changed in 2020. Construction was going well and then, in March 2020, COVID-19 hit. At first, we thought it was going to be a disaster for the construction industry. States, cities and towns shut down projects and many applied for PPP loans. Then, something amazing happened. Construction was considered an essential service and everyone was back to work.  That said, the work world changed: companies were donating their PPE to frontline workers, COVID-19 protocols had to be followed and paperwork had to be filed. Everyone was scrambling to figure out how to comply and keep their businesses going. So, you may or may not ask, what was I, as a construction lawyer doing? I spent March and April thinking about the new risks contractors/construction companies were facing and developing contract clauses to protect the industry. I wrote a number of blog posts with clauses to add to your contra

An Explanation of LEED Certification

This one is from the Concrete Masonry Association of California and Nevada:


Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system promoted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to design buildings that are environmentally responsible, energy efficient, and profitable. The LEED rating system is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance sustainable buildings. Even though the rating systems is voluntary, governments such as California has made it mandatory for all state buildings to comply with LEED. Credits not explicitly related to energy design are also included in this section to provide guidance for those who take advantage of masonry properties for LEED design.

The LEED New Construction (LEED-NC) rating scale is divided into five environmental categories and a sixth design category. In order to become LEED compliant, a building must achieve 26 out of a possible 69 points. There are also silver, gold, and platinum levels in which buildings must achieve 33 to 38, 39 to 51, and 52 plus points respectively.

  1. Sustainable Sites (14 points available)
  2. Water Efficiency (5 points available)
  3. Energy and Atmosphere (17 points available)
  4. Materials and Resources (13 points available)
  5. Indoor Environmental Quality (15 points available)
  6. Innovation in Design (5 points available)

There is also a LEED Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) rating scale used for existing buildings, however, it is currently being used as a pilot program. There are various other LEED rating scales. The LEED-NC Certification is valid for a period of five years, and re-certification under LEED-EB is required to verify that the building continues to perform as it was designed. The re-certification promotes continuous improvements to the building.

Certification Level

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