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Sun, Apr 13th - 8:20PM

Avoiding Greenwash

By:  Allison K. Smith, EcoBroker, CRS

An increasing number of builders and consumers are recognizing not only the energy-efficiency, but also the health-related benefits of green buildings.  Most home buyers like the idea of a well-built house that’s environmentally sound and offers low utility bills.  Who wouldn’t want a home that is easy on the wallet, good for the body, comforting to the soul, and gentle to the earth for decades to come?

 

            Most consumers readily acknowledge that energy efficiency and environmental design correlate with quality.  In a survey commissioned by Consumer Reports, nine out of ten consumers consider environmental and health factors as part of their purchasing decision.  Those consumers are also willing to pay more for a home with green features.

 

            Green is a term which consumers may feel they understand in general.  But what, you may ask, does it mean to be green in terms of real estate, of your home?  It is easy to be mislead by “greenwash,” which is generally disinformation and/or over-hyping of a product or feature through marketing and advertising, so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.  Unlike the natural foods industry, where the government has defined terms like “organic,” there are no government sanctioned definitions for terms such as “environmentally-friendly” and “green”.  So how does the average Joe avoid all the greenwash?

 

            Enter the EcoBroker.  An EcoBroker is a real estate agent who is specially trained to assist home buyers and sellers in identifying green and energy-efficient features in a home.  To earn the EcoBroker designation, an agent must complete coursework spanning issues from energy, the environment, to green business.  The EcoBroker provides a vital link between builders, consumers, green products and sustainable home design.  Accordingly, EcoBrokers can help distinguish between a green-like marketing scheme and a home that’s actually been built according to efficient design with sustainable low-toxic materials.

 

            The general environmental aspects that are considered in a green home, and which an EcoBroker is trained to help consumers identify include: energy efficiency, building materials used, water quality and indoor air quality.  This runs the gamut from landscaping, building orientation, windows and appliances, to insulation and use of non-toxic materials (such as low VOC paints and carpets).  There are also a variety of programs across the nation that certify new and existing homes, and/or rate homes as a function of their energy efficiency, sustainable design, and health-related features.  These programs include: Energy Star, LEEDS, and locally is Built Green Colorado. 

 

            Your EcoBroker is not only invaluable in helping you find or market a green home, but is also your resource in identifying other professionals to assist you in greening your existing home.

 

Contact Allison at www.coloradodreamhome.com

303-333-4490


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