How green is too green?

Whenever a room of business people start arguing about green building, at least one ends up saying government should incentivize change rather than mandate it, otherwise green requirements will cause that other kind of green to dry up.

It turns out that in far-away Germany, a small town called Marburg is dealing with

Coutesy of The New York Times

these same problems. According to an Aug. 7 story by Nicholas Kulish in the New York Times, the decision of the town council to require solar-heating panels has caused some to call the town a “green dictatorship.”

In happened in June: the council switched from encouraging citizens to install solar panels to making it an obligation. It requires solar panels on new buildings, and on existing homes that undergo renovations or get new heating systems or roof repairs. There’s a 1,000 euro fine for projects that don’t comply, as of Oct. 1.

Here in Seattle, changes like this don’t seem real. Our politicians put a 20-cent fee on paper and plastic bags from the grocery store and the news and anger generated by the action is overwhelming. A change of the magnitude of Marburg’s decision is certainly nowhere near occurring in Seattle.

But if it were, would this be the way to go? Where is the line between a green haven and a green dictatorship, considering many in this city would already consider it the later?

Let’s take a small break from reality and imagine that Seattle was going to require something like this. I’m guessing solar panels might not have the greatest impact (considering our famously overcast weather) so then what would? Insulation, windows, green building materials, indoor air quality? What revolutionary change would you suggest the city take on? Answer my new poll to the right, or share your thoughts below.

For more on this topic, visit Smart Economy, Support the Warmth, Truemors or the Huffington Post.