These days, everybody wants to be green. Unlike some trends that only serve to perpetuate superficial values based on appearance, being green is healthy and positive. Also, living with more consideration for the environment can help preserve the Earth’s resources for future generations. But these facts are well-known. So well-known, in fact, that some businesses are taking advantage of a well-meaning public by using green terminology indiscriminately in their marketing copy.
Take green remodeling companies. How do you know they’re really green? To make money in an economy that increasingly revolves around green principles, some companies will go as far as including catch phrases in their advertising. These include the words “Green,” “Eco-friendly,” or “Sustainable.” But how can you tell they mean it? Fortunately, it isn’t hard. Especially not for green consumers, who are conscientious to begin with.
For one, many green companies volunteer for certification from a governing board such as the Bay Area Green Business Bureau. You can also look a particular remodeling company up under a registry that lists certified green businesses, such as Co-Op America. Find out where your potential company is certified, and look them up online to make sure they are listed on that website.
Green certification is not required to be green, but remodelers who are certified tend to go beyond minimum standards, doing business with values that take the environment into account. For instance, they will monitor water and energy use, waste generation, and provide incentives and training opportunities to employees. Certification gives them recognition for their actions and credibility from the public. Remodeling contractors working under a green business are required to have the necessary credentials, such as Green Building Credentials, a LEED Accredited Professional credential, or a Green Building Professional Certificate.
Aside from a pretty seal on the window or letterhead, green companies show signs of their environmental stewardship. Visit the office in person. Look for recycling bins for paper, plastic, and aluminum. Look for double sided printouts, energy efficient light bulbs, low-flow fixtures in the bathroom. These are far more likely to appear in a green company than your average, high-consuming business.
Finally, look beyond the marketing slogan to the marketing copy. Since we’re talking about remodeling companies, what types of materials do they promote? Do they provide a list of low-VOC paint options or formaldehyde-free adhesives for your paneling and hardwood? If not, do they point you out to the manufacturer who will? Do they provide information on how to reduce waste during the remodeling process, and how to be more energy efficient afterwards? If eco-friendly options don’t come up in your company’s written or verbal language, chances are they are not authentically green.
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