What is Greenwashing and How to Avoid It


What is Greenwashing and How to Avoid It

An environmentally friendly home is more than just the sum of its parts. Energy Star ratings, low or zero VOC paints, and recycled and sustainable materials are important, but a true green home builder understands the full scope of sustainability and low carbon footprint construction. One term that can become a stumbling block is “greenwashing.” It’s a deceptive practice used by some homebuilding professionals that position themselves as green builders when in fact they are not. These homebuilders capitalize on homeowners’ desire to live as Earth friendly as possible. A label or claim doesn’t mean much if there is little fact to back it up. Some of the most well-meaning people can fall prey, but the right home builder can help you avoid greenwashing.

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Be Aware of Irrelevant Green Homebuilding Claims

There is nothing special about a homebuilder who only meets local code. An authentic green builder goes beyond what is required. Naturally you want effective insulation and Energy Star rated appliances, doors, and windows, but true green homebuilding should encompass higher standards for efficiency. These include low-emissivity (low-e) glass, minimum Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) 14 cooling equipment, high efficiency lighting, high-performance and sustainable insulation, virtual elimination of unwanted wind infiltration, among many others.

Look for Green Home Labels You Can Trust

Green homebuilding product labels don’t always tell the whole story. Some labels aren’t accurate at all. This is a significant greenwashing trend that capitalizes on a consumer’s desire for sustainable products. If you can’t identify a label, it might not be an authentic green product. Nationally recognized labels include the recycle/recyclable emblem; Energy Star; National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) for windows, doors, and skylights; and others, including those that may apply locally. Your certified green homebuilder can help you identify the right products.

New Isn’t Always Green

If you’re considering a home renovation or new home addition and want to improve energy efficiency, new HVAC and insulation likely aren’t enough. And not all new products and materials are as green as their high-efficiency counterparts. A trusted green homebuilder understands what it takes to improve energy efficiency the right way, regardless of the size of the project. This is key to improving your standard of living, reducing your carbon footprint, and knowing that the same standard of care applies as it would with new custom home construction.

Sustainable living is a choice that more homeowners, and prospective homeowners, are choosing every day. Greenwashing, however, can make some choices more complicated than they should be. A reliable, respected green homebuilder can clear away the confusion.