Sustainability is more than a buzz word; it’s essential to the continuation and preservation of modern society. The old methods of construction are too wasteful to continue using in this age of dwindling resources and global climate change. Those who want to build green are to be commended, but getting a new deck, new house or new building built is not as easy as simply hiring a contractor who claims to build green. Many companies offer sub-par services that barely reduce waste at all, and others flat out lie about what they do by exploiting technicalities in the system. Making the right choice requires knowledge.
The Practice of Greenwashing
Greenwashing refers to the act of deceiving the general public into thinking a builder or contractor or manufacturer supports organizations that have environmentally sound practices. It can be ridiculously difficult to ascertain whether companies are being honest or not. Companies that donate to environmental causes may anonymously contribute to other problematic organizations. These same companies may, in fact, abide to the high standards of green construction in areas that are scrutinized while cutting environmentally important corners in other areas.
The Freedom of Information Act is one way prospective clients can obtain information about the companies they’re considering hiring. This act gives anyone interested access to emails that companies have sent to lobbyists and politicians, and it exposes the paper trail that links one company to the other parts of the supply chain. It’s always possible to get information from the company being considered, but you’d be wise to do some research on your own instead of just relying on the voracity of the information the company in question provides.
Seek Contractors With the Right Credentials
Companies can say that they’re green, but there are agencies devoted to ensuring that they live up to their promises. The Building Performance Institute awards contractors who favor energy efficient products and practices with their seal of approval, and con-sumers can feel comfortable with any company with that credential.
Ask About a Contractor’s Practices
Before hiring any contractor, speak with the people in charge and ask them directly how they handle their business. How do they dispose of waste materials? Do they use recycled products when possible? How and where do they acquire new building materials, including how do they ensure they don’t over-order wasting precious resources? Who are their suppliers? What information will they willingly release, and if they won’t talk about something that’s important to a specific consumer, why?
Every company has some skeletons in its closet; what matters is how it responds to cri-ses and criticisms. An honest company will learn and evolve. A dishonest one will sweep things under the rug in the hope that no one will ever find out about what they’ve done and continue to do. The very best companies will be upfront about everything, but consumers are advised to always gain information through the Freedom of Information Act to make sure that the reality lines up with what they’re told.
The Green Transition
Technology is at a point where everything is gearing toward greener and more efficient methods for doing things, but the fact that the change is happening gradually allows for various loopholes to be exploited. That will likely be the case for another one or two decades; there are a lot of special interest groups that benefit from holding on to the status quo. That’s why it’s so important for consumers to do their homework. It may cause some headaches in the short-term, but it’s vital for the health of the planet.
Sidra Newell is a guest writer for www.ppiclaims.uk.com where you can find information on mortgages, interest rates and special financing savings.