Are you looking to renovate your home to make it more environmentally friendly? Be careful of getting greenwashed.
Greenwashing, where businesses deceptively use green marketing or advertising to promote the goods or services offered are environmentally friendly, has been the bane of eco-conscious consumers since the green movement began. Mike Holmes, the star of the HGTV hit show "Holmes on Homes," offers some simple steps to help you avoid being betrayed by your good intentions.
Review credentials. Some contractors stretch what green certification is. True certification comes from an unbiased third party. Stick with companies that employ LEED-certified professionals or those that qualify for Energy Star for New Homes or GreenHouse Certified Construction.
Get it in writing. Ask to see a list of what green building materials, features or processes your renovator is using in writing, along with a detailed summary of their benefits. A legitimate contractor will tell you exactly how your project will reach its eco-goals, and what percentage of savings you can get, based on actual third-party research.
Don't overdo it. Unethical builders might push for big eco-gestures, such as a geothermal heating system or photovoltaic panels, which might not be right for your lifestyle or your home. Contractors that really care about being green should start with simple, less glamorous additions, and only suggest a large-scale product or process if it's the right fit for your project.
Check references. In a young industry like green building, it's especially important to check your contractor's references. Ask your builder for information from clients who have lived with his eco-friendly improvements and have him prove he met third-party certifications. If possible, request an account of the client's actual savings.
For more information on all green practices where your home is concerned, check out the February issue of the newly launched Holmes: The Magazine to Make it Right.