CO law prevents Graywater System at LEED Platinum Dorm from being turned on.

28 Feb 2012

Williams Village North LEED Platinum dormitory.

Stephen Del Percio at the Green Real Estate Law Journal (a great blog by the way) posted an interesting story about the University of Colorado’s new $46.6 million, 131,000-square-foot dormitory in Boulder.  The dormitory is the largest (500 residents) of its size in the nation to earn LEED Platinum from the USGBC.  Here’s the problem, its $230,000 graywater system – which recycles water from showers and sinks through the dorm’s toilets, and could save the dorm over one million gallons of water annually – can’t be turned on by the University because of Colorado state law, which generally prohibits graywater systems from being used unless they’re isolated from public areas.

Apparently, a state bill that would have given municipalities greater control over regulating graywater systems stalled in committee; nonetheless, the University may still be able to operate the system through an exemption that allows graywater pilot programs (although supposedly it could still take more than a year to qualify the system through the pilot program).

This is a great example of new technology conflicting with pre-existing (and frequently outdated) law.  As Stephen aptly points out, when signing contracts which require that work and services comply with all applicable laws, codes, and regulations (which they almost all do), you need to take those obligations seriously – particularly on projects which include newer technology and/or green building components.

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