A greener Garden State?

Should New Jersey lawmakers require new buildings in the state to be green?

According to an environmental attorney at the law firm LeClairRyan, they should think twice before mandating green buildings in New Jersey, where several bills are already working their way through the state’s legislature

James A. Kosch, who is also director of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s environmental law section, said these bills could raise costs and thus force developers to scuttle worthy projects, or stifle innovation by setting in stone-literally-government-favored approaches to the fast-evolving trend of green design.

The raft of bills would, among other things, require developers to offer solar power to residents of certain high-density housing developments; allow municipal planning boards to weigh the “greenness” of projects when deciding the fate of proposed master plans; and mandate that new state buildings and units of affordable housing be built to uniform green standards.

Kosch pointed out some of the ramifications and impact of these bills. He noted that the green building trend is still at an infancy stage and that there are still a lot of challenges in this market as well as legal questions related to insurance, water reuse, energy generation, tax credits, economic incentives, etc.

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