I will be at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo this week and would be pleased buy any reader of this blog a cup of coffee or a beer. Simply drop me an email, .. And while I have several speaking engagements during Greenbuild you may want to attend my session “G09: Marketing Green Building: A Competitive Advantage Without Greenwash” on Friday, November 22nd at 8:00 a.m. I commit it will be an informative and fun!

And speaking of green building, last night Will County, Illinois officials held a public meeting seeking input on incentivizing “sustainable and green features” through the voluntary use of the International Green Construction Code. 

Will County is located in northern Illinois in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Some may think a voluntary (non mandatory) green code in an oxymoron, but this proposal is cutting edge and may portend a future for broader environmental policy through a market driven approach to saving the earth.

The County is considering offering incentives to builders to construct structures that exceed the building, energy and plumbing codes, according to published comments by Ray Semplinski, the County chief building official. The County is proposing reduced building permit fees for projects built above minimum standards and include sustainable features.

Related to the threshold matter of offering incentives for green building, the County will accept comments on using the IgCC as the framework for articulating the incentives. Semplinski stressed, “exceeding the code would be done on a voluntary basis only.”

Voluntary incentives offered by government, whether as tax breaks, direct grants or loans, or advantages in processing approvals for green buildings are a non prescriptive non regulatory approach to environmental solutions and energy policy that respond to the overwhelming public sentiment that government has not done enough to protect the planet while not burdening land owners with another mandate. The green building philosophy is a property owner friendly, results oriented, environmental practice that may portend a future for broader environmental policy.

Such is an explanation for how green building evolved from 1.4% of non residential construction in the U.S. in 2005 to more than 44% of construction last year.

Mandatory green building laws, requiring that government construction be green and even private sector construction be green, irrespective of whether the requirement is to build to the IgCC to LEED or the like, remain controversial and fly in the face on the tenets of green building.

Watch Will County in the coming days as they move to incentivize the marketplace to save the earth.

Many believe environmental protection is far too important than to leave to the government.