As I was driving to work, a super-hero-like voice interrupted my morning news program on the radio: "Green Power Switch is coming to a neighborhood near you!  Green Power Switch will allow you, the consumer, to choose to purchase “green” energy from the companies that sell the power that TVA generates."

That’s right! The Tennessee Valley Authority and local power companies are banding together to offer their customers various alternatives of renewable energy (i.e., solar, bio fuels and wind).

Self, I ask, what’s the big deal with that? The big deal is that the speeches and PowerPoint presentations we’ve heard on renewable energy legislation and its effects on the construction industry are becoming a reality.  

Just a few weeks ago, the Green Ribbon Committee on Environmental Sustainability issued its recommendations to Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, including the following: 

  • "Implement program at NES to switch from petroleum oil to a soybean-based oil for transformers used city wide."
  • "Develop a Metro Green Fleet program to expand the use of electric vehicles, hybrids and bio-diesel to help diversify energy supplies, decrease emissions and support regional economic activity."
  • Adopt an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system for NES residential customers that would enable them to manage their energy consumption and conservation efforts.

From government initiative … to legislative enactment  … to industry standard … to consumer incentive … renewable energy will have a dramatic effect on the construction industry as a whole. Already, we are seeing green-related ordinances that affect the day-to-day business operations of your hard-hat construction contractors, laborers and suppliers.  Take, for example, the green cement ordinance in Dallas, Texas that requires use of cement from "dry kilns" versus "wet kilns."  That’s good news if you operate a dry kiln … not so good news if you operate a wet kiln.  In other instances, the issue is finding its way into the court system like City of Albuquerque v. AHRI, which blocked enforcement of various state energy conservation codes in New Mexico on preemption grounds. The plaintiffs were a group of HVAC and water heating equipment trade organizations, contractors and distributors.  (Steve Del Percio discusses the City of Albuquerque v. AHRI case on  

These are just a few examples of the 411 (… information …) that you can find here at Best Practices Construction Law.  Check back soon for an overview of other green-related legislation affecting the construction industry.