Sunday, January 11, 2009

"House Buyers Must Beware Of Builder 'Greenwashing'"

Published: Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 1:00 a.m. Last Modified: Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 11:10 a.m.

If you are interested in buying an environmentally sound house or residing in a sustainable community, you need to become familiar with the term "greenwashing," which basically means proclaiming that something is environmentally sound when it really isn't.

A combination of the words "green" and "whitewash," the term reportedly was coined by suburban New York environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986 in an essay regarding the hotel industry's practice of promoting the reuse of guest towels in a supposed effort to conserve water, when, in fact, there was little or no effort toward waste recycling.

Back then, Westerveld focused on the hotel business. But the sad reality is that, today, greenwashing, aka "green sheen," is rife across the board in every business as companies rush to take advantage of the heightened consumer interest in environmentally safe or beneficial products.

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