While building pros can be greenwashers, they also can be leaders. Buyers look to pros "as experts, as sources of information to understand green," says Arturo Angel of Leo J. Shapiro & Associates. "If you can explain to them the impact the products would have on a personal level, it makes much more sense to them." Make the case for green by making the connection with your clients' monthly bills, the health of their families, or even the health of the planet, and you might just change the way they think about green.—J.L.

"One way to prevent [greenwashing] is to do your homework." —Stephen Roberts, managing director, Green Canary

Product Certifications

  • Consumer Reports:
    (www.greenerchoices.org/eco-labels/eco-home.cfm)
    The Greener Choices Eco-label center allows users to compare labels (149 at press time) on products such as wood using the organization's report cards.
  • EcoLogo:
    (www.ecologo.org)
    Allows users to browse products that have received this independent, multi-attribute environmental mark in more than 200 categories of products.
  • Energy Star:
    (www.energystar.gov)
    Provides energy-efficient product listings.
  • Greenguard:
    (www.greenguard.org)
    The certification program does third-party testing for low-emitting products and materials. All certified products are listed in the online product guide, an indoor air quality (IAQ) resource.
  • GreenSeal:
    (www.greenseal.org)
    Offers an index of products certified by this non-profit organization.
  • WaterSense:
    (www.epa.gov/watersense)
    Provides water-efficient product listings.

More Resources

  • BuildingGreen.com:
    The publisher of Environmental Building News and the GreenSpec directory provides unbiased information on green products and design.
  • EcoHome:
    (www.ecohomemagazine.com)
    Our magazine offers up-to-date resources on green products and technology.
  • The EnviroMedia Greenwashing Index:
    (www.greenwashingindex.com)
    This interactive forum invites users to submit and evaluate advertisements making environmental claims.
  • Greenpeace:
    (www.stopgreenwash.org)
    Greenpeace's greenwashing page provides information on corporate greenwashing, conducts investigations, and invites users to submit examples.
  • Six Sins of Greenwashing:
    (www.terrachoice.com)
    TerraChoice offers a printable .pdf and wallet card, as well as audio files and other information explaining its greenwashing "sins."
  • TreeHugger:
    (www.treehugger.com)
    Blogs on this sustainability site discuss green news and product information.