Green Building Claims Are Sometimes Green Washing

You may have noticed that practically every real estate product being advertised these days is promoted as ‘green’ in one form or another. While there are some specific terms that are useful such as Built Green, LEED Certified, and even something calls a HERS Rating, it can be very difficult to clearly identify what makes a property ‘green’.

“Green Washing” is a term that we’re hearing more lately. It refers to the practice of labeling a product as environmentally friendly, green, or sustainable without the product really having any verifiable substance in matters of ‘green’. Let’s say for instance

that you have an otherwise unchanged 1960’s ranch home and you have replaced the windows. Does that qualify the home for marketing it as ‘green’? What about if you take an otherwise original 1979 bi-level home in Table Mesa and add a tank-less water heater? Is that enough to call it green?

Much of the attention in the marketplace right now focuses on new construction ‘yardsticks’. LEED certification, HERS ratings, the EPA’s Energy Star Rating and even Built Green
can all be useful guidelines for selecting a new green home to purchase.

Ok, so let’s assume, for the sake of our conversation together, that when I say green, I mean to include one or more of the concepts of sustainability (renewable resources, etc) , energy conserving (sealed homes, insulated, properly oriented site selection), energy generating (solar, geothermal, wind), as measured by … oh yeah, that’s the point. It’s difficult to know how much, or how little, we need to include before we can call it ‘green’.

For now, the task at hand will be for you to work with the somewhat ambiguous methods of determining what makes a home green. You will have to decide if what you uncover is enough to meet your own personal green standards. You may find that increasing your knowledge base through local community workshops, can help you know what to look for. You could also consider securing the help of an EcoBroker certified Realtor who can help you reveal the truths behind the claims of ‘green’ homes for sale.

Your EcoBroker can also be a resource to learn what you can do to improve the green factor of your current home! Yeah, no kidding, you think some might think that it’s strange for a Realtor to recommend that you improve your existing home and not move? After all, that’s one of the most eco-friendly / green moves you can make… just stay put and not consume. When you do move though, more knowledge is power.

So whether you have to move, or are just looking to improve your current home to save money, be more environmentally responsible, improve the personal comfort level of your home, or all of these; getting the best straight talk about what’s green and what’s not is really a smart road to travel. Contact your EcoBroker today for the truth about green.


One Response to “Green Building Claims Are Sometimes Green Washing”

  1. Lat on July 20th, 2008 12:54 pm

    Thanks for this good information.

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