Florida Green Certification Avoids ‘Greenwashing’ with FGBC Tools

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ORLANDO, Fla. — The high-performance building industry continues to gain traction, which is good news for Florida builders, developers and homeowners.

But with this growth comes an emerging problem: “greenwashing.”

Home Innovation Research Labs is reporting that greenwashing — or presenting a product as more environmentally friendly than is the case — can be a problem.

“There are listings that say it’s a green home, but when you get down to it, the agent means the home has a few green features,” said Sandra Adomatis, owner of Adomatis Appraisal Service in Punta Gorda, Fla. in a recent press release.

With over 17,300 certifications since being founded in 2000, the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) is by far the largest certifier of green homes, residential communities and local governments in the state. Projects are visited, reviewed and certified by a third party green verifier.

Unlike other national and international certifications, FGBC are only standards developed with Florida-specific criteria. They address Florida’s hot-humid climate, environment, unique topography and natural disasters.

Understandably, greenwashing could make buyers more skeptical about a home marketed as green. For this reason, many builders look to third-party validation such as the Florida Green Building Coalition standard as an assurance for wary consumers.

A voluntary standard, FGBC requires a home to perform above a baseline threshold of sustainability in several areas including: energy, water and resource efficiency; indoor environmental quality; site development; and operations and maintenance.

Verified homes receive a certificate of valididation, providing buyers with confirmation that the home is a high-performance property.

Mortgage lenders also like independent certifications because “they provide reassurance that the property is what it says it is,” said Richard Durling, owner of Marvin Homes in Ft. Myers, Fla. and president of the Lee Building Industry Association in a recent press release.

Adomatis is confident that with the widespread use of web searches and social media, greenwashing won’t do too much damage to the green building space.

“Buyers are becoming more aware of it. Millennials in particular are googling what these green features mean,” she said. And millennials are making the largest gains in homeownership.
No matter what your generational definition or price point, be informed when looking to purchase (or sell) a high-performance home. Consider third-party certifications, obtaining a green appraisal and using a green real estate broker.

FGBC’s five certifications provide pathways to build green homes, developments, local governments, high rises and commercial buildings. The process, including low fees, is often more affordable than other certifications. The free market aspect of FGBC certifiers also keep costs reasonable.

Going Green? In Florida you have a choice. For more information contact the Florida Green Building Coalition at info@floridagreenbuilding.org, visit www.floridagreenbuilding.org call (407) 777-4919.