Have you noticed a never-ending parade of claims that this or that product is "green" or "eco-friendly" – including from the housing industry? Prospective homebuyers who sincerely want to live a sustainable lifestyle should carefully evaluate marketing claims and also consider the home's location.
"The Green Case for Cities," in the October 2009 issue of The Atlantic magazine, cautions against slapping on a few solar panels and declaring one's home to be green.
"The problem in the sustainability campaign is that a basic truth has been lost, or at least concealed," the author wrote. "Rather than trying to change behavior to actually reduce carbon emissions, politicians and entrepreneurs have sold greening to the public as a kind of accessorizing.
"Keep doing what you’re doing, goes the message. Just add a solar panel, a wind turbine, a hybrid engine, whatever. But a solar-heated house in the burbs is still a house in the burbs, and if you have to drive to it, even in a Prius, it’s hardly green."
One area home builder, self-billed as "Delaware's Green Builder," says on the company website: "Green construction is also practical from a marketing perspective. The usual incentives are not enticing buyers. We think green certification will.” (The builder had not yet achieved "green certification" from the National Association of Home Builders, but went on to say, "I know of no other local builder offering certified green construction as standard with every home, although others are headed in that direction.")
The Seven Deadly Sins of Greenwashing
So What Does a Green Development Look Like?