What does it mean for consumers when buying or upgrading their home?
We are revisiting the topic of greenwashing and how TerraChoice was able to put together a very elaborate market research program to review how greenwashing affects Northern Virginia and all other consumers and retailers alike. In our field, we were especially curious about how greenwashing or this green sheen stuff comes into play in the real estate market and homes in general?
Well, some real estate agents will say that a home is green if low VOC paint was used in the house they are marketing. This doesn’t make a home entirely green- but it doesn’t hurt. A truly green built home will be very high performance and of course have the interior functionality of a healthy home. TerraChoice notes that they found through focus on products revolving around the consumers’ homes and their families, the sense of research and security was very much in depth. Consumers want to protect the health and safety of their families, and when it comes to the space where you live, you want to be healthy, and comfortable there. Builders have evolved to meet the rising need for healthier indoor air quality- why? Because their consumers demand it.
Companies are evolving to meet this demand, and in turn, are getting (hopefully) better and better at the greening of their building practices. As the public becomes hyper-aware of the need for a healthier indoor environment, their desire for a greener product is heightened. When you are looking for a home that is actually green-built, or has the potential to be upgraded to be a sustainable home, it is definitely a good idea to have an Ecobroker on your side so that you can have the added bonus of a resource who knows about what makes a home a healthy living environment. By understanding the green building practices and the principles behind sustainability, Ecobrokers can help you avoid the greenwashed homes that you are looking into. If the home has had a bit of the green sheen, at least an Ecobroker can point you in the right direction of how to modify the home to be truly green. More importantly, it is important to have a third party verification implemented in order to test the actual efficiency and air quality of the home, if it is being marketed as such.
The good people at TerraChoice have recognized that building standards have changed because consumers now can identify with the correlation of health to our indoor air quality. Real Estate agents can also verify the fact that there is an increased demand for healthier, more comfortable and energy efficient homes in their market and how these homes are on the market for a significantly shorter amount of time and bring higher sales prices per square foot.
What we can take away from the TerraChoice 2010 Sins of Greenwashing is that consumers are getting educated. Third party verifications are key to keeping consumers and vendors educated about the real nature of their products. Take a look at the EarthCraft Virginia program if you’re looking for a verification of a property which is being marketed as green. Reach out to your local energy auditors and Home Energy Rating Systems (HERS) auditors and other construction professionals to create a team for you to help you accomplish your indoor air quality goals. Research and don’t fall pray to any of the 7 sins of Greenwashing, as presented by our friends at TerraChoice. What are your thoughts on this? How do you think Greenwashing has affected the Northern Virginia and DC Metro Area? Tell us what you think!