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As the market demand for green buildings increases, real estate developers, managers and building owners are looking to strategically position themselves as leaders through the construction or renovation of building spaces that meet voluntary green building standards. Likewise, the number of jurisdictions with green or energy-efficient building mandates and incentives continues to grow.  Clients in every sector from manufacturing and commercial retail to healthcare and education are pursuing opportunities to reduce risk, enhance value and demonstrate leadership in sustainability through green and sustainable building operations.  Our firm assists clients in all sectors in evaluating opportunities, managing liability risks, negotiating contracts, and complying with voluntary and mandatory green and energy-efficient building standards. 

Our firm is a member of United States Green Building Council (USGBC"). MGKF partner Brenda Hustis Gotanda and technical consultant Michael Nines are accredited as LEED® Accredited Professionals ("LEED® APs").  MGKF provides counseling and representation for clients pursuing certification under the USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ("LEED") rating systems and compliance with other national or local standards.

MGKF represents clients across a range of matters from the planning stages through project completion and beyond.  When project siting is an issue, we are experienced in site development and permitting issues. MGKF assists clients in evaluating environmental permitting requirements for alternative site designs in order to allow selection of a site design that both has a minimal impact on the environment and achieves the project's main purpose. When a client's project creates the potential for environmental impact, for example to a waterbody, wetland, or an important plant or animal species, we have negotiated permit conditions, memoranda of agreement, and green design strategies to eliminate or mitigate the potential adverse impact while achieving the client's project objectives. MGKF assists clients with regulatory approvals necessary to incorporate various aspects of green building into their projects, such as beneficial reuse or water reuse approvals. We are experienced in negotiating representations, warranties and indemnities in contracts, purchase agreements and leases. We assist clients by identifying and developing strategic plans to maximize potential federal, state, and local funding and incentives for clients building green or undertaking green retrofits. MGKF also represents clients in litigation and other adversarial proceedings, as well as in alternative dispute resolution.  Our attorneys and technical staff are frequent speakers and have written articles on a wide variety of green building, sustainability and energy-efficiency topics. 

In recognition of the growing marketplace interest in green building, MGKF sponsored a Harvard Law School Environmental Law & Policy Clinic White Paper on The Green Building Revolution: Addressing and Managing Legal Risks and Liabilities, which provides recommendations on how to avoid or mitigate risks of claims in the green building context.

"USGBC" and related logo is a trademark owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and is used with permission.
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The following are some of the representative matters MGKF has handled in the green building context:

  • MGKF has counseled and represented commercial developers of green building projects on a broad range of issues, including voluntary standard certification, material reuse opportunities, brownfield redevelopment, environmental regulatory approvals, and project contracts.

  • We have assisted clients in obtaining beneficial use approvals to handle recyclable and reusable materials.

  • We have drafted and counseled clients regarding green leases. 

  • We have represented and counseled commercial developers pursuing LEED certification in a wide range of matters, including advocating on their behalf in the USGBC Credit Interpretation process and with respect to legal contracting matters.

  • MGKF has provided counseling and representation to clients on voluntary and mandatory energy and water use benchmarking.

  • MGKF has assisted clients with siting, permitting, contracting and regulatory approvals for a wide range of alternative energy generation projects, including solar and wind power.  We have experience with the siting and development of solar photovoltaic projects in a variety of settings, including on rooftops, closed landfills and brownfields. We have drafted power purchase agreements both solar and wind power and have prepared related project development contracts.

  • The firm has counseled commercial and industrial clients and lending institutions on the availability of grants and tax incentives for innovative technology, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and assisted clients with the preparation of grant applications.

  • We have drafted and negotiated contracts for deployment of electric vehicle charging stations.

  • MGKF has assisted clients with gap assessments that compare costs of moving from traditional construction practices to green building construction standards.

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