Your clients traditionally looked to you for advice on building materials and design alternatives. Now they want that expertise for all things green. A client who says “I want a green home” may not have the foggiest notion of what that means at the product/material/design level. This can be a daunting task.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel staff training is a good practice to emulate. When it trains new staffers, it doesn’t run them through long lists of specific actions. Instead they are taught a principle: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Any action in accordance with this principle is the right path for the Ritz.
We also need to keep principles in mind — green principles and adhere to them when designing and specifying a product.
My green principles are universal: Use less energy; use less water; don’t poison the air anywhere; avoid buying things that poison the world when they are made or shipped; buy from responsible manufacturers.
That said, you need some baseline knowledge and an overview of third-party labels. So, here’s a quick 10-point primer to help you along, but also visit GreenWizard.com or GreenBuildingAdvisor.com for great resources and guidance. (Full disclosure: Both companies are/have been my clients.)