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Green Building

Green Building

As a growing number of our clients seek to build and maintain sustainable, high performance buildings, we are committed to assuring that they achieve their goals. Our real estate and construction attorneys provide advice to a wide array of clients on issues at every stage of the real estate project life cycle. Together, we deliver an interdisciplinary set of sustainable development skills that advance project delivery from inception to completion, helping clients build for the future.  


Green Building Certification
Several of our attorneys are accredited and trained in the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification process.

We know firsthand that sustainable real estate development is a process of planning and implementing high performing buildings from an energy efficiency and environmental perspective. Performance rating systems such as LEED® and Build It Green provide performance standards against which a building or project may be measured. In more and more cases, these standards are becoming legally required mandates for green building compliance. Our attorneys offer strategic advice on how to structure development projects with these standards in mind. We offer accredited expertise in compliance with these standards and the review processes that exist to implement them.

Government Requirements and Incentives
We are intimately familiar with the federal, state and local government entities adopting laws that regulate construction of new buildings to achieve sustainability objectives. California’s energy use standards for new buildings is one example. Another is San Francisco’s Green Building Ordinance, the strongest command and control green building ordinance in the nation. Our attorneys continually monitor and master these legal requirements, advising clients in these matters as a value-added service. 

We are well aware that financial incentives offered by federal, state and local governments provide a valuable opportunity to developers to improve the economic feasibility and profitability of sustainable development projects. Our attorneys assist in applying for and obtaining these financial incentives, be they income tax credits, property tax reductions, rebates, or grants, and in syndicating them to third parties in the right case.

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Our attorneys are at the cutting edge of industry transformative developments in design and construction, such as Building Information Modeling and Integrated Project Delivery. BIM is the use of object oriented, intelligent databases that not only can use 3D design tools to characterize existing architectural and engineering design, but can be used to explore and manage the construction process, energy optimization, sustainable construction, cost and facility management. IPD is a model for team building and risk allocation among owner, architect, engineer and contractor to align interests as a means of achieving project success. Howard Ashcraft, a partner in our Construction Section, played an instrumental role in drafting the American Institute of Architect’s policy statement on IPD, and that team is engaged in many high profile developments adopting the IPD model.

Green Leasing and Build Outs
The desire to maximize the economic and environmental benefits of high performance buildings, together with increasing tenant demand for space in high performance buildings has given rise to the “green lease.” A green lease sets forth the landlord’s building-wide protocols for tenant compliance to assure its building’s ongoing environmental performance.

When representing building owners and managers, our real estate attorneys craft comprehensive green leases based on industry standards such as the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) green lease as well as our own expertise. For tenants, we analyze the legal and economic implications of green lease provisions and negotiate concessions that will aid the tenant in building out its own premises in an environmentally sustainable way. On behalf of tenants, who are often less familiar with environmental design, we serve as a LEED® accredited project consultant and negotiate their commercial interior buildout to best protect their interest.

Industry Affiliations

  • American College of Construction Lawyers
  • American Institute of Architects California Council (AIACC)
  • American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE)
  • Design Build Institute of America (DBIA)
  • Founding Member Center for Innovation in Design and Construction
  • Lean Construction Institute
  • San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR)
  • Urban Land Institute (ULI)
  • U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
  • U.S. Green Building Council, Northern California Chapter

Key Contacts

Kristina Lawson
Kristina Lawson
Managing Partner
San Francisco, CA

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