Gaines Group Architects

Green Word Defined – Green Washing

greenwashingGoing green has become common place in the marketing world. From light bulbs, clothing, to homes and cars – companies are telling you how they have gone green. If you do a little research on the claims, you will quickly find out that a lot of people have entered the “green world” with no knowledge of actual sustainable practices or concepts. Green Washing is a problem, as it causes the consumer to be confused and some give up after using a product that is not really green. Green washing is a form of spin where the marketing department tweaks reality to show their companies aims and policies towards environmentally friendly policies. Be careful when taking green claims at face value. Recycled content may not be the most important factor if you are really looking for the green alternative, you may be more interested in the off-gassing. Local content may be more important than FSC certification. Durability of a product may be more important than renewable resource (how fast it can be produced). There are many factors when selecting green products for your home – the best solution is to consult an experienced green building professional that can help you understand the pros and cons. Look for someone that has a track record with successful green projects, has certifications such as LEED AP, EarthCraft, or Certified Green Professional. Ask questions about how many green projects have been done and what considerations were taken. For instance, there are some green projects that are mainly focused on indoor air quality, energy conservation, or local products alone. Your goals may be all of those factors or any number of other concerns.

Harrisonburg Small Home

What is a green architect?

What is a green architect?

The term green get thrown around a lot in today’s market place. From national companies looking to get into the niche green cleaning market to start up companies offering new services like energy audits. How do you get through all the marketing and find out if there is really value added? How do you figure out who is a green architect?

harrisonburg cottage

It all comes down to your values. We all make decisions based on our values. They might be based in economics, religion, heritage, or history. At the base of all our values, it comes down to what we personally think is right and just. So my value proposition for green to you is base your selections on common sense and compassion. If the claim seems to good to be true, it probably is not true. If the product has all the same ingredients as the competition, but has a green colored label with a leaf, it probably is not a greener solution. If the smell of the product makes you sick, or worse, if the label has a skull and crossbones, it is not a green product. If your action impacts the ability for future generations to enjoy that same ability to execute that action, then you are probably not working towards a green future. I encourage you not to buy into the green hype, but instead to look toward compassion. Don’t just look for solutions that satisfy your needs, but look for solutions that meet your needs without compromising others to achieve their goals.


In the real estate market for instance, help clients understand that lower energy and water bills will help them monthly to be able to make their mortgage payments. Yes, they want that big house with a nice yard, and yes you want to make the sell, but if their utility bills don’t allow them to make ends meet, they will probably never be a return customer. If on the other hand, you show that you care about their best interests and not just making a sell, you will not only gain a friend, you will gain the best marketing tool possible. They will tell everyone how good you took care of their needs and refer you to all their friends. The term green is just a label. The true path we should all be working towards is doing the best job possible with all the information we have available. If each of us works towards a better future for everyone, we will all enjoy the benefits of our efforts.