Sam Champion(s) 'Eco-Friendly Home,' Downplays Expense

     “Good Morning America” weatherman Sam Champion gushed on April 19 in a report about an “eco-friendly” house and green home furnishings, but buried even the mildest mention of the costs.

     “There’s many simple, even money-saving ways that we can actually give our little bit of help in our own lives and in our own homes and make a little bit of a difference,” said Champion.

     But according to the April 19 USA Today, going green is “expensive.”

     “Products that help people use less energy – or leave a smaller ‘environmental footprint,’ as green advocates say – often are more costly than their alternatives, causing some to argue that going green is only for those who can afford it,” said USA Today.

     Champion’s segment began with a tour of a house built in Paterson, N.J. by BASF The Chemical Company to be 80 percent more energy efficient than other houses.

     The home incorporates wood from environmentally protected sources, furniture cushions made from plastic soda bottles, compact fluorescent lighting, modular recycled rug tiles, bamboo bedding, and laminate molding made of pressed wheat instead of solid wood.

     Showing off keen journalistic skills, Champion asked questions like, “What is so green about this kitchen? It looks pretty normal,” and “Why do we love bamboo?” He did not mention any extra home construction costs.

     Following the segment on the New Jersey home, Champion interviewed Chassie Post of Domino magazine about green bedroom furnishings.

     It wasn’t until Champion’s final question that he rushed through the cost angle: “Now quickly about the cost, I know some of this is gonna be more expensive and that’s what a lot of folks are going to talk about. Is it always more expensive to do the healthy, green thing?”

    “Great news. Not anymore, not anymore. Most of the things that we are showing today are comparable in price,” replied Post.

     While the items selected to feature on GMA might have been “comparable,” the April 19 USA Today state that eco-friendly items are “often” more expensive.

     BASF media contact Mark Stephenson told the Business & Media Institute that there were additional costs of about 5 percent for what is known as the “building envelope” – walls, ceilings and floors – because the home was built specifically for energy efficiency.

     The median price for an existing home is $212,800, according to the National Association of Realtors. So 5 percent in additional costs would be $10,640.

     But there is an immediate cost savings of 80 percent in utility expenses for the homeowner, added Stephenson.

     When it comes to greening an existing home, that can be expensive said USA Today. “Those in older homes have to pay several thousands of dollars to replace windows with energy-saving, double-paned glass.”