Green Gab podcast
Kari Klaus of Viva Green Homes helps to simplify finding a green home for consumers. While the Viva Green Homes web site is a multi-layered platform, Kari enjoys big data and loves bringing it to people to make better decisions, and the core of Viva Green Homes is just that. Kudos to Allison Friedman of Rate It Green for connecting us!
More about Kari and Sustainability
Kari’s background is in International Sustainable Economic Development and she loved the idea of preserving rainforests, making sure southeast Asia is developing more sustainable, and natural resources aren’t being plundered in other countries. She also realized we have a consumption problem here in the US at home. The US consumes three times the global average, meaning our consumption really has a global impact. So, she got into the real estate industry because of her great passion for homes and buildings. Kari got into real estate with the understanding that she wasn’t going to do real estate like the “regular” person. She was really interested in and focusing on the sustainability aspect of things, so she got her Eco-Broker and LEED Green Associate credentials. She focused on helping consumers see the true costs and benefits of a home.
Her own renovation sparks Viva Green Homes
In 2007 she did her own eco-renovation and it really hit home that there was a bigger issue at play with respect to sustainability and real estate. She was so frustrated when she found out that she poured in approximately $50,000 more than she probably needed to include sustainable materials, more energy efficient systems, and better-advanced building techniques to be more energy efficient and to have a healthier home. There was really no way to market her own home, with its many better benefits and features, on existing real estate sites. Yet most people search for homes first online. The deeper she got into things she realized there was a data block issue. With her love for data and her love for research, she started exploring how she could really open these data blocks and that’s what Viva Green Homes is doing. “Real Estate is the key to changing how we think about our housing stock and homes.” Marla
So many people don’t even know where to start, what questions to ask and all we know is how we’re raised, what the professionals tell us and a lot of us don’t think past that. It’s not easy to look between the walls, and know all the systems, and understanding the difference between one certification and another. These are complicated issues and they are getting more complicated with more advanced building materials, systems, and processes. For instance, many builders are marketing that their homes have a HERS Index, which is a home energy rating system focused exclusively on home energy efficiency.
Greenwashing is the practice of overly promoting green, sustainable and/or efficient claims for products and homes when there are not up to the same standards as others. One person’s definition of energy efficiency is probably different than the next person’s. To say that a home is energy efficient without actually providing all the detailed information about the house can cause consumers to distrust much of the information.
From Buyers should be wary of houses that are marketed as energy-efficient, Washington Post
“Greenwashing is a growing issue in real estate as multiple studies demonstrate that consumers are attracted to — and will often pay premiums for — homes that are highly efficient in saving on utility bills. Just about everybody likes the concept of green, and builders and real estate agents increasingly use the term as a sales come-on. But experts say that, too often, what’s marketed as green isn’t what it purports to be when you take a close look.”
One of the first products created was the VivaGreen rating system to reflect the quality and quantity of eco features and showcasing 3rd party certifications. The VivaGreen rating system gave homes with eco-features yet no 3rd party certification a way to be compared with other homes. The VivaGreen rating system is a tool to help combat greenwashing. The viva green rating system has a scale of 1 to 5 stars for home listings to help consumers better understand the real benefits of their potential new home.
Viva Green Homes, with its search capabilities and database of green, sustainable and eco-friendly homes offers the place to start a search for a home that performs better.
Join Marla and Tony on The Green Gab Podcast on iTunes and get the gab with us as we share what we’ve done, as well as tips for greening up your home, your job, your family and your life! Get in on the gab for why green matters.
Get Marla’s book Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices to a Better Home.
For more information, Marla at [email protected] or Tony at [email protected]