When Green Isn’t as Green as it Seems

In today’s world of carbon footprints, sustainability and simply all green all the time, there’s a lot of greenbacks to be made by advocating your environmental friendliness. And, like most other similar concerns, the vast majority of people on the green bandwagon are there for the right reasons and being upfront about their products and services.

As we have the last two years, we’re going to highlight some of those companies, organizations and communities in the July-August BizVoice magazine. (Check out the last two years: 2009 and 2008 issues). There are good stories to tell, and we’ve got excellent writers on staff who will do just that.

But the growth of green was closely followed by "greenwashing," defined as misleading information about environmental practices or benefits. Recently, Energy Star products that may not be as efficient as advertised and green buildings that don’t always live up to that label have been in the news. Are there other "not so fast on the green claims" that are out there? Let us know your thoughts and any leads would be appreciated.

It will be another great "going green" issue, but if some green initiatives are leaving you feeling blue, we want to report on those too.

A LEED Standard for Roads?

LEED and environmentally-friendly designs are becoming popular among builders of homes and businesses alike. Now, a group is seeking to push for similar standards for sustainable road designs in an effort to preserve the environment. Very interesting. Governing has more:

Hoping to do for roads what LEED has done for buildings and Energy Star for household appliances, Greenroads has unveiled a new rating system for sustainable road design and construction. In development since early 2007, the system seeks to encourage the more than $80-billion-a-year road construction industry to adopt standards that will build sustainable roads with less environmental impact, lower life cycle costs and resulting in more positive societal outcomes. The rating system, which was jointly developed by researchers from the University of Washington and the global engineering firm CH2M Hill, outlines the minimum requirements that must be met to qualify as a green roadway. Requirements include producing a noise-mitigation plan, reducing stormwater runoff and mitigating urban heat island effects. The system also awards credits for voluntary actions, such as minimizing light pollution, using recycled materials, incorporating quiet pavement and accommodating non-motorized transportation. The system can be used for either new road projects or for upgrades on existing roads. Oregon’s Department of Transportation and the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Highways have already expressed interest in the program.