Concern for the environment is growing among consumers, manufacturers, and service providers. In response, promising signs are emerging that we’re moving toward a more sustainable world. One of these signs is the pace and scope of sustainability-driven innovation. If you’re looking for ways to live a greener life or are interested in breakthroughs in green technology, here are some green trends to watch for and think about embracing this year.
Natural furnishings and decor
Decorating with houseplants is increasingly common. Expect this trend to continue alongside a rise in the production and sale of other organic furnishings. Carved stone stone coffee and end tables, wood furniture, and wicker chairs are a few examples. If you find yourself shopping for apartment decor or furniture this year, keep your eyes peeled for natural items made using environmentally-friendly processes.
More smart appliances
Automated technology has dominated the spotlight at the last few Consumer Electronics Shows in Las Vegas. Just as programmable thermostats enabled millions of Americans to curb their energy consumption, you can expect to see more smart ovens, washing machines, and other smart appliances that save water and energy.
Daylight harvesting is the strategic placement and use of windows, sky roofs, glass doors, and mirrors in an effort to maximize natural sunlight in a space. Green design and construction trends toward more and bigger windows are responsible for much of the growth in daylight harvesting. And motorized shades, especially those that can be programmed like smart thermostats, are expected to help the trend spread further. Save energy by using natural sunlight in your apartment whenever and wherever it’s available.
Recycled and up-cycled clothing
Vintage clothing is as popular as ever. Along with newer second-hand and recycled clothing, vintage wear puts a small but important dent in demand for new clothing. Add to this the increasing popularity of up-cycled materials in fashion design and an increase in zero-waste clothing manufacturing, and fashion looks like an industry that’s really greening up.
Size and scope of sharing economy
Sharing economy giants Airbnb and Uber have faced many hurdles this year, but that hasn’t stopped innovation in the field from booming. It is now easy to borrow cars (Turo) and household tools (Snapgoods) from your neighbors.
Rise of 3D printing
San Francisco startup Apis Cor can now print a house in a single day. This is a tremendous achievement in a technology that’s really only taken off in the last few years. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, yields less waste than traditional manufacturing. This preserves raw materials and landfill space. As long as green design is a priority, 3D printing is poised to benefit the environment as the technology grows better, cheaper, and more ubiquitous.
New solar technology
Little over a decade ago, it was an anomaly to see solar panels installed on buildings. Today, it’s not uncommon. Tesla even has a solar roof that’s slated to begin production this summer. Cheaper sources of renewable energy should increase demand for products like solar cells. And further R&D investment will likely lead to even more efficient solar cells and wind turbines, along with solar-powered electronics.
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