Beware of Greenwashing When You Buy a Home

Let’s face it–Green is in.  While the pols and pundits debate and pontificate on gas taxes, cap and trade and carbon offsets, in every aspect of our economy business people are trying to move their trade or products into the Green economy.  Some of these businesses are motivated by a sincere interest in the environment and sustainability.  And yes, they would like to make their committment profitable too.  Nothing wrong with that.  But others are motivated purely by the almighty dollar and thus don’t have a working knowledge of what it means to be Green.  The term greenwashing is used to define a product or entity that paints a misleading picture of enviromental friendliness to the public.

Recently I looked at a home that was listed as “Completely Updated Green Home”.  Admittedly this house was a little gem in a very sought after neighborhood.  It had been nicely updated.  When I looked around for “green” features here’s what I found.  The dishwasher and washing machine are Energy Star rated.  The water heater is tankless.  These alone do not a “Green Home” make.   The listing said the roof was “energy efficient” –Huh?????   What does that mean, I wondered.  So I called the listing agent.  I also wanted to know what SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) and the HSPH (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) of the heat pump to determine if it met the requirements for energy efficency or Energy Star Rating.  The agent didn’t have the answers and clearly had no idea what actually constitutes a “green”  home. 

It would have been fine to advertise the home as having some nice “green” features or updates.  But the implication that the home is green was made without any certifiable standards.  One way that you as a consumer,  interested in buying a home with green features can protect yourself, is by selecting an  EcoBroker Certified real estate agent as your representative.  EcoBrokers are trained to look for “green” features or retrofits in existing homes and assess the qualifications of a new home to be Energy Star rated or LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.

Did You Know: You can get a tax credit for 30% of the cost of your new energy efficient heating and cooling systems.  The maximum credit is $1500.   Check out the Energy Star website for more information.

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 Or call me, your going green real estate advisor at 703-625-1358



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