Can you fact-check “green” home products?

Published by Sign On San Diego on 1st July 2011 – an interview with Jaimi Julian Thompson, a nationally known “green” interior designer, conducted by Lily Leung
 
How do you know if an eco-friendly product or service is truly “green”?

Are there ways to verify companies’ promises to save you money with their solar panels, bamboo flooring and cabinets?

In an email interview, Thompson gave the Union-Tribune some tips on how to fact-check green products and which have won her approval.

Question: With so much hype in the marketplace, how do you decide if a product is really “green”?

Answer: Many products portrayed as green, fall short when you look at the entire life cycle of the product. I help clients “decode the hype on green,” by looking at five aspects:

  • How does the product’s manufacturing process affect air quality and the environment?
  • Is there any recycled content in the product itself?
  • How much energy does the product use?
  • What is the lifespan of the product before it needs to be replaced?
  • Can the product be recycled after its use, and if so, how?

By looking at every aspect, consumers can create green homes that use less energy, water and natural resources, create less waste, and are more durable and comfortable.

Question: Where can consumers get independent assessments on a product’s “green-ness”?

Answer: Look for independent, third-party verification. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification system instituted by the U.S. Green Building Council (usgbc.org/LEED).

Many industry associations …


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