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What Buyers Should Know About Greenwashing

July 13, 2016

Multiple studies have shown that consumers are attracted to – and will pay more for – homes marketed as environmentally friendly and energy-saving, leading to increasing numbers of unqualified homes being marketed as highly efficient. Known as greenwashing, the practice is a growing issue in the real estate market that buyers need to be aware of.

As more and more consumers are becoming aware of green living, builders and real estate agents alike are increasingly using the term to market properties, whether or not they qualify for green status. To avoid a home that has been greenwashed, make sure to familiarize yourself with what constitutes a green home.

How to Recognize a Green Property

Here are five indicators of truly green homes. If the property you are looking doesn’t follow these guidelines, speak to the listing agent, builder or developer to clarify what green features they have included.

1. Site planning was sensitive to the environment, minimizing tree destruction and managing water runoff.
2. Appliances, A/C, lighting & insulation are all certified as energy efficient.
3. An air filtration & exchange system has been installed to regulate air quality.
4. The home uses non-toxic building materials.
5. Water conservation was considered, such as water-saving toilets and shower fixtures.

Buzzwords Often Used with Greenwashing

While ENERGY STAR appliances and LED light bulbs are earth-friendly, they don’t make a home green. Watch for buzzwords used in MLS listings or with realtors, such as “eco-friendly,” “sustainable,” and “high efficiency.” If a home listing or realtor uses these to describe a property, ask for evidence to back up the claims to avoid an issue of greenwashing.

Green Home Certifications

There are several green certification programs applicable to single-family homes and multi-family buildings three stories or under. Green homes are certified based on a points system that ranks a checklist of requirements. Once approved by the certification board, the Certifying Agent will be mailed a Green Home Designation certificate for distribution to the project owner. In Florida, certifications include the Florida Green Building Certification, National Green Building Standard and LEED certification.

 Want to Learn More About Green Homes and How to Avoid Greenwashing?

The Worldwide Properties team has all the experience and knowledge to guide you through buying a truly energy-efficient home and avoiding one that has simply been greenwashed.

Contact Worldwide Properties today to speak with an experienced agent about your buying or renting opportunities in the South Florida area.