How buyers can guard themselves from greenwashing

Kari Klaus, chief executive and founder of Viva Green Homes in Arlington, Va., a national listing portal exclusively for “eco-friendly” homes, says “greenwashing is a growing problem — clearly there’s a desire to jump on the train and use buzzwords” like “green,” “sustainable” and “high efficiency,” too often with little to back up the claims. Her website ( carries free listings for certified (HERS, LEED, Energy Star, Built Green, Net Zero and others) as well as noncertified homes that have some green features such as solar panels, geothermal, energy-efficient windows and doors, water conservation devices, etc.