Caveat Emptor: The Green Sheen

Bw_march_26_2007_cover Sure, the housing market is in a bit of a lull right now, but BusinessWeek’s article on page 131, "How to Make a Deal Bloom," was totally irresponsible.  BW presents five tips for residential home sellers: (1) Get on the Net, (2) Dress Up the House, (3) Don’t Overprice, (4) Be Green, and (5) Forget About As Is.  Here’s what they say under Be Green: "Environmentally friendly features are in, especially if buyers don’t have to pay for them.  You can give your home a green sheen inexpensively by replacing incandescent bulbs in light fixtures with energy-saving compact florescent ones.  Put filters on the faucets and a compost bin in the backyard."  You might as well call it a veil or mask, because this isn’t green, it’s green-washing.  With a few add-ons, the seller is putting out the vibe that the house is green and the buyer unwittingly infers that it has more beneficial green features.  That’s quite deceptive. 

Buyers Tip:
Don’t buy into this hype, you’ll be disappointed by the results.  Don’t think you’re getting something special if you have CFLs, water filters, and a compost bin.  Sure these green add-ons are helpful, but don’t be swayed.  If someone shows you these things and says their home is green, here’s a model reply:  "Cool.  Can you show me the results of the energy audit?  I’m interested in knowing about the AC SEER rating, the windows, and all the Energy Star appliances.  How much energy does that refrigerator use?  Did you landscape green, too?"  Let’s try to be discerning.


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