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DCL

Building green is not always as simple as nailing down some bamboo flooring and plugging in a solar panel. Indeed, putting hammer-to-nail is often the simplest, albeit most physical, part of the project. From vetting potential contractors to choosing the right materials, building green requires lots of knowledge, in-depth research, and many tough decisions. Now, there is another potential obstacle green builders must contend with: The law.

A recent report from Harvard Law School's Environmental Law & Policy Clinic found that building green is wrought with legal pitfalls including vulnerability to lawsuits for "negligence and fraud, violation of consumer protection laws, and failure to meet certification standards resulting in loss of tax credits."

These dangers are not rhetorical cautions either. Robert Fox, a managing partner with sponsoring law firm Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, explained that "we're seeing the litigation starting now, and my sense is that there will be more as the government is imposing this as a requirement." The major concern so far, he added, was in meeting requirements for certifications like the LEED standard on schedule.

In this sense, the legal challenges faced by green builders relate mostly to contractors and developers working on large, commercial, projects. Still, there are issues even a small builder or DIYer should be aware off. Here are just a few to get you thinking: