‘Greenwashing’ Raises Questions About Sustainable Homes

March 12, 2018

Even though some homes are marketed as energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, your buyers should do their own research on the property to confirm its sustainable features. “Greenwashing,” a misleading practice in which homes are marketed as green when, in reality, they have few such features, is becoming a growing problem, according to an NBC investigation. 

“Green is more than just energy efficiency,” Richard Durling, owner of southwest Florida-based homebuilder Marvin Homes, told NBC. “It’s about the whole design and building process—everything from the air conditioning systems and how energy efficient they are to where we purchase material and where it comes from in the country. If it’s local or somewhere out of state, if it’s less of a carbon footprint, if it’s less of an impact on the environment. We look at all the different aspects of construction and how they impact the environment.”

Real estate appraiser Sandy Adomatis says that a truly green home will take into consideration six elements of green building:

  1. Site
  2. Water efficiency
  3. Energy efficiency
  4. Indoor air quality
  5. Materials
  6. Operations and maintenance

A home that fails to meet these six criteria but is presented as green may fall into “greenwashing,” according to NBC. “Don't be afraid to question the sellers and ask them to put in writing what they have done and provide you with documents,” says Adomatis. If a home is certified as green, buyers have some assurance that it meets green standards, Adomatis says. 

Source: “NBC Investigates: ‘Greenwashing’ in the SWFL Real Estate Market,” NBC-2 (March 8, 2018)