Promoting and labeling yourself as a green manufacturer — whether you’re legit or just faking it — has really taken off now that the green living / ecofriendly / sustainable living market has gone mainstream.
It’s become so common that current research indicates that as much as 98% of North American companies committed at least one of the Seven Sins of Greenwashing (available here as a PDF file) as defined by TerraChoice.
Unfortunately for all of us (e.g. the consumers), this lack of authenticity and a lack of regulation has severely damaged what it actually means to be green.
Being a stickler for details, I noticed this one line comment from a Realtor who is directly benefiting from the green building trend. She energetically states that she has seen a surge in buyer interest after mentioning her listing(s) is a green built home.
As soon as the [For Sale] sign went up that said “GREEN BUILT“, I had a flood of phone calls.
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[Fast forward to minute marker 2:19]
I’m not claiming her listing isn’t a green built home. Far from it. Given that this report on recession resistant jobs is from NBC News, I feel relatively confident this individual Realtor is acting accordingly.
But even if I was declaring a state of shenanigans, there isn’t an official green building certification that has yet been defined by the Federal Trade Commission. Which makes it insanely easy for anyone to claim that their new construction home, and perhaps even an upgraded older home, is a green built/eco-friendly home.
My main concern with a report like this, and specifically the edited comment I singled out above, could potentially give home builders and Realtors who are having a difficult time moving unsold inventory motivation to slap a “Green Built” or “Eco-Friendly” label on their listings when it isn’t true.
After all, they are people just like everyone else. They’ve got families to feed and bills that need to be paid. When put under a copious amount of stress, it’s only natural to that some will succumb to the pressures of cutting corners.
Combine this with an insufficiently educated consumer and the ease of slapping a green label on nearly any product… we’ve got problems.
Naturally, the best way to protect yourself from being duped as a consumer is to educate yourself about the home you want to buy.
Here are a few tips:
The more you know, the more questions you can ask. And the more questions you can ask, the better chances you have of spotting a false claim or being overly impressed by fluff advertising.
Have you come across a “green built” home? Did you find the advertising to be misleading, or was it legit? Did it influence your decision to walk through the property one that did not?