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Housing has been ‘greenwashed’

Some consumer products not as eco-friendly as they claim

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Walk through any home-remodeling expo these days, and you could be forgiven for thinking that the entire industry has gone mad for green. Everything from roofing shingles to basement wall-sealants seem to bear some kind of "eco" stamp lately, testament to manufacturers' determination to appeal to consumers' apparently heightened appreciation for sustainability, energy conservation and plain old earth-friendliness. "If you actually took all the marketing claims at face value, then the environment should be in great shape," says Henning Bloech. "Everything is 'green.' " Bloech spends a great deal of time contemplating such claims. He's the executive director of the GreenGuard Environmental Institute, an Atlanta-based organization that, among other things, independently tests chemical emissions of homebuilding products to certify that they meet indoor air-quality standards. His group is one of a relative handful of so called "third-party cert...