The Greenwash Brigade

EcoBroker standards: got transparency?

Jim Nicolow Oct 21, 2008

Sarah Gardner reported on the EcoBroker Program this afternoon on Marketplace. The program attempts to address two critical issues in combating greenwash: 1) it defines what criteria an agent must meet to be a green real estate agent, passing an exam covering their 18-hour curriculum related to residential energy and environmental issues, and 2) it certifies agents who have met their criteria.

Unfortunately, the criteria are not that transparent at the moment. From what I could see on the EcoBroker website, you have to take their proprietary classes in order to see what criteria they’re using to define green expertise. I would like to see their criteria clearly articulated / published and open for peer review, similar to the approach taken with development and refinement of green building rating programs. I think that transparency and objectivity is critical to broad acceptance and adoption of the program.

That said, I think this is a great step in the right direction. I think it both signifies that there is a market for green homes, and the program itself can help grow that market.

Critical next steps are more transparency in defining the expertise required to become an EcoBroker (ideally, EcoBroker would publish this criteria and simply administer the agent certification test), and adoption of concrete standards on the property listing side (what does it take for a property to qualify as a green home).

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