Signposts for Better Choices with Green Labels

Signposts for Better Choices – Green Labels with Tony Pratte

Welcome to another episode of the Everyday Green Home Podcast! This will be my last podcast for the year, and what a year it’s been! When we look back on this past year, my hope is that we are able to see the silver linings that were in amongst all the challenges that we faced in 2020.

I’m pulling another great episode from the archives for today’s show. It features my regular guest and co-host, Tony Pratte from The Sound Room, and this podcast will be all about green labels.

It’s easier than ever now to have a green household. However, many companies and labels provide misleading information. How do you know if your products are clean? One simple way is to see if it has a green label.

So, in this episode, Tony and I discuss what green labels are and why you should care…spoiler alert, the biggest reason you should care is for peace of mind! That is something we all need right now. We also discuss other labels and companies that provide certified clean and sustainable products and how you can integrate them into your home.

I know you’re really going to enjoy this show!

Green labels, explained

Green labels are labels that show third-party certification for a product, an entire assembly, and sometimes even an entire building. The relevance of the third-party is that they are a separate entity saying that the green label is what it’s saying it is.

Why we should care about green labels

If third-party certifications did not exist, every company could make any claim at all about a product, even if those claims were not true.


“Greenwashing” is a term that was coined around ten years ago when everyone started coming out with all these new “green” products. The idea behind greenwashing is that claims were made about products that were not necessarily true, but the manufacturers were wanting to catch a ride on the popularity of all things “green”.

Many customers believe that what they read on labels is true, and therefore make purchases based on those claims.

The beauty of third-party certifications (“green labels”) is that those certifications actually back up the claims.

Regulations around claims

The FCC, or Federal Communications Commission, has regulations about what claims are allowed to be made.

In addition, the AMA (American Marketing Association) also has rules that prohibit marketers from making claims that are not true.

An industry issue

A lot of people, including those in the industry, do not understand what the terms mean, they don’t understand the value of those terms, and therefore, they do not know how to talk about them.

Instead, the terms are thrown around loosely without understanding the consequences that come behind that.

Meaningless words

There are a lot of words used in the food and personal care products categories. One word that is meaningless is “natural”.

The goal of green labels

The goal of green labels is to give the consumer confidence that what they are purchasing is what has been claimed for that product, material, or home.

A green label shows that research has already been performed by an independent party so the consumer doesn’t have to do their own research. This gives the consumer peace of mind.

Green labels for the home

Many of the products that I curate for you in the Everyday Green Home store have these green labels on them!

For products that I list that do not have a green label, be assured that I have taken them through the same vetting process that we use in the National Green Building Standard to ensure that those products meet the requirements of what we would use in a green home certification.

The reason why all products don’t go through a green certification process

The reason is similar to why not everyone goes through the organic certification process: it’s expensive and time consuming. Therefore, many small family farms choose not to go through this process.

However, it’s an instant marketing flag and is often worth the effort.

Green and sustainable?

The following labels wrap around all the different characteristics we can find in homes: energy-efficiency, water-efficiency, resource-efficiency, toxin-free or lower toxins, and recycled materials.

Green home certification

Look for the Energy Star label when you are shopping because Energy Star covers thousands of products, as well as complete home certification. You can be assured that you are getting a product that is at least 20% more energy-efficient than its standard non-certified product.

WaterSense is to water what Energy Star is to energy. My simple advice to people I’m working with towards green certification is to choose all WaterSense plumbing fixtures and toilets in your home or building and you’re done!

Many people think these products will be a lot more expensive than their non-certified counterparts, but that is not the case. In addition, you get that extra quality bump because you know somebody has taken the time to go through the process of certifying them.


Many people have not heard of Greenguard, but if you see this label you can be assured that the product has less toxins in it and it meets the California rules for air quality.

The Greenguard certification now applies to a variety of products. Who doesn’t want to breathe easier?

The trend for airtight houses

New construction houses are becoming more airtight, and if we’re recirculating fresh air into it, we need to be very careful about what is inside our house because we’re locked up inside with it!

If you do more on the energy-efficiency side, with a little bit more thought it can also be better for the indoor air quality side.

Cradle to cradle certifications

This certification is different from the others because it is based on a book based on the same name. It’s an efficient way of using resources.

Other green labels

There are other green labels out there, and I urge you to pay attention and read labels. Green-labeled products are designed to make your life easier and better.

There are green-certified homes, too!

Food and personal care products are two more categories in which we’ll be seeing a lot more future certifications.


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