HGTV recently announced its next “Green Home Giveaway.” One lucky winner will get a 2,300-square-foot furnished apartment outside of Atlanta, along with a 2012 GMC Terrain and $100,000.

Sounds great, until you look at how “green” this actually is. 

The new house is in the luxury community of Serenbe, a 1000-acre “sustainable” community that boasts sustainable building products and techniques, organic farming and water reuse. The residence features concrete countertops, solar panels and rugs made of recycled material.

That all sounds well and good, but with a growing number of vacant homes in Georgia and about one in every 361 properties in the state under foreclosure, can building a new home ever really be “green?”

HGTV would have been better off to revamp an abandoned property. That means using materials that are already there (the ultimate “recycle”) and adding green features to an already existing home where the renovation can drive up area home prices. Slapping solar panels on a new home doesn’t make it green any more than slapping new tires on an old car makes it new.

Also, what about this 2012 GMC Terrain? At about 17 miles-per-gallon in the city, the car is hardly “green” and you’ll probably need that $100,000 just to pay for the gas.

I talked about this a couple weeks ago, but its particularly relevant here. It’s time for people to stop throwing around the word “green” because they throw in Energy Star appliances and use Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building techniques. It’s time to redefine the word green to encompass recycling and use of sustainable building techniques.

It is particularly damaging with a channel that purports to be the expert on all things residential chooses to push a product as green based on the classic definition rather than the actual meaning. Hopefully HGTV’s next “green” home will be exactly that.