There are hundreds of new green products on the market at this point, and many can help builders garner points toward green home certifications. But attorney Patrick Perrone, of K&L Gates, warned builders to be cautious when selecting and installing them.

"Before you make a leap to a new green product from a proven product, you need to ask a lot of questions," Perrone said during an educational session at the NAHB Green Building Conference, held May 8-10 in Dallas. "If you don't ask the questions of the manufacturer, those are the questions an attorney will ask you in a deposition."

During the packed session, Perrone outlined 12 questions pros should ask in an effort to avoid green product legal issues:

1. What is this product supposed to do?

2. Can large quantities of this product be delivered in a timely manner? "You want a product that's easy to obtain," Perrone said. "If not, it will lead to construction delays."

3. How does the product compare to existing products? "If the manufacturer can't prove the performance [with company and third-party testing], I would stay away from it," he said.

4. Does it meet recognized industry performance standards? For example, if you use a new green shingle that does not meet ASTM standards, a jury will ask you why you installed that product.

5. Does the product meet building code requirements? "If the manufacturer hasn't tested it vis-a-vis the code requirements, stay away," the lawyer warned.

6. How long will the product last? For shingles and siding, a new product should have a warranty of at least 10 years, Perrone said.

7. How difficult is it to repair the product?

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