Television show Home of the Future gives a glimpse into how families can start taking into account energy efficiency and environmentally friendly behaviour.
The Channel 4 show, co-funded by energy company E.ON, features the Perara family, from Sheffield, who had their home kitted out with the latest technology and gadgets, and were subjected to possible scenarios of the future.
An E.ON spokesperson says the point of the show is “to demonstrate that we are going to be living more energy efficiently in the future, to showcase some of the most up to date means of being self-sufficient, and also to be a bit fun to demonstrate what gadgets we are going to be using and how they are going to make our lives easier in the coming decades”.
This weekend’s episode focuses on food. The family had its greenhouse fitted with an aquaponics system that provided a self-sustaining fish farm. The system recycles all the water from the fish tank for the plants in the greenhouse, “So they are able to grow plants in the greenhouse without having to feed them or give them any soil”. The fish could be eaten too, but “the family found it a bit hard to actually carry out the deed of making a fish ready to eat”.
Another feature the family appreciate in the show – and still use even though filming for the show has finished – is the soil free growing gadget, which uses UV light to trick the plants into thinking that night and day are passing more quickly than they are. Because plants grow in days rather than weeks, it gave the family had a constant supply of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Futurism expert Chris Sanderson, who overlooks the whole series, said, “It was interesting to see the family address the food challenges we face globally. The era of cheap food is on its way out, and we all have to do a major rethink about priorities – and the programme tackles this head on. There are major challenges around new sources of protein and how we get them, for example, insects”.
Most of the recommendations made in the series are realistic – the technology showcased can be found online or through specialists. Other technologies that improve energy efficiency are even more readily available; for instance, smart meters that show how much electricity and gas is being used to power the gadgets used around the home.
The family in the television show also noticed the importance of being less wasteful with food, so they changed their behaviour by cooking less. The little waste food that remained was recycled or composted.
There are a number of simple ways to become more energy efficient if only we are aware of the technology available to us. The E.ON spokesperson says it is important that people start making lifestyle changes now “so it doesn’t become a kind of crunch point when we suddenly have to change. It is more a gradual change of habits over the next few years.
“Everyone knows about fossil fuels running out, and the spiralling cost of energy reflects the fact that people need to be more aware of what they are using and make it a sustainable and realistic way of living.”
Home of the Future is on Channel 4, Sunday, March 4. You can catch up with the rest of the series online. You can also read Blue & Green Tomorrow’s take on the rise of the sustainable home soon.
If you want to make your life more sustainable, we have four recommendations. Start shopping ethically, we suggest taking a look at the Ethical Supermarket, travel sustainably, use renewable energy to power your home, our preferred supplier is Good Energy. Finally, you can make a difference with your money; just speak to your IFA and ask about sustainable investment, and if you don’t have one then fill in our online form and we’ll put you in touch with a specialist ethical adviser.
4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again
As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.
Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.
Jars and Containers
Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.
An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.
Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!
If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!
Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!
These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money
The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.
Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.
Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.
Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale
The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.
Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.
Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI
It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.
Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.
Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.
Implementing green changes without a plan
Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.
Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:
- How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
- How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
- How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
- How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?
The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.
Not considering the benefits of green printing
Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.
Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.
According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:
- They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
- They consume less energy than traditional printers.
- They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.
You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.
Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers
Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.
The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.
You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.
Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.
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