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Green Thoughts from the Scanlan law offices


Saturday, May 1, 2010


Let me introduce myself and explain why I think this blawg is important.

I've been an attorney in Denver Colorado since 2002. I received a JD and an LLM in International Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy from the University of Denver. While I operate a general service law office, I try to focus on construction and environmental law issues.

While in school, I took my LLM in an unusual direction, focusing on the relation between natural resources and human rights. I spent a summer working with legal aid clinics in Bosnia in the summer of 2001.

I received my BS from the University of Illinois in Mechanical Engineering in 1984 and an MBA from the U of I in 1990. After graduating from Illinois, I designed building mechanical systems for 15 years. Most importantly, I worked with the Circle Design Group in Indianapolis Indiana.

Circle Design set a high standard for its building systems. We designed green buildings before the term came into common parlance, not even to help the environment, but because they are cost effective. One of my favorite designs used the cooling load from the building for re-heat energy rather than simply discharging it to atmosphere. Unlike in most buildings, according to the design, the building owner rarely turns on the boilers in the summer months.

This blawg will hopefully deal with the intersection between building design and the law. Right now building designers certify a building as Green. But what if the building doesn't live up to its hype?

A building owner pays more up front for a Green Building so that he can not only save on operating costs, but also charge higher rents. If the building doesn't actually meet the standard (for example: LEED Gold or Platinum) claimed by the building owner, this could open the owner to litigation by his tenants. Such litigation could then open the designers and contractors to litigation by the building owner.

It is important to 'get it right' the first time. As designers you need to be sure not only that you've designed a Green Building, but that the contractors have constructed what you designed, and that the building owner understands how to operate the building to meet the standard you have set.

Contact Circle Law to set up an appointment.

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