Innovation in Sustainability

Fri, 2013-02-08 11:20

Most of us know the narrative that guides the typical sustainability discussion. More often than not, it can be summated by everyone’s favorite three-step process: reduce, reuse, recycle. Don’t get me wrong – that’s certainly not a bad thing. These three words stand as a catchy, assonant reminder for the easiest ways we can stymie our wastefulness. That said, they only represent a surface-level explanation of all the incredible things going on in sustainability circles right now.

Innovation in sustainability is as rampant as ever, and its huge strides have been largely in part due to the tech community that’s huddled up on the west coast around places like Northern California, specifically in the Silicon Valley. Take the San Francisco Energy Cooperative, for example, which was created to make green energy affordable and accessible enough for every homeowner to get their hands on it – not just those with a padded household income. The SF Co-op allows members to invest small amounts into green energy projects around the community and then collect on whatever profits are made by these projects at a later date. For households that don’t have the ability to install solar panels on their foundations or purchase carbon credits, it’s a great way to encourage sustainability without straining the budget.

Naturally, households with smaller incomes aren’t the only ones being targeted in light of the burgeoning sustainability movement; officers in the U.S. Army are also getting a chance to reduce their environmental impact – and they’re doing it institutionally. The U.S. Army, as of the end of 2012, was reported to have invested over $208 million in energy-saving initiatives since the president mandated eco-friendly adjustments to the military force just around a year prior on December 2, 2011. A report from the Pentagon has suggested that the Army has also reduced its energy use by over 10% since the beginning of 2004. A good deal of this newfound efficiency has been thanks to energy savings performance contracts that the Army has signed with private energy companies in order to update infrastructure on bases and promote greener ideologies across the armed forces.

Nonetheless, we should remind ourselves that the topic of sustainability isn’t confined to work or home life. Recreation, whether it’s indoors or out, has also been aided by some recently introduced eco-friendly developments. Consider the golfing community, which has undoubtedly made sustainability a top priority in the last decade or so. From wind turbines on courses in the UK to the GEO Certified label that the nature-friendliest courses in the world are now boasting, golfers are subtracting from their ecological footprint in massive steps. And that’s not to say other sports have been slacking! The NHL is now sending its unused food to local soup kitchens, and multiple professional stadiums have now attained LEED™ certification from the United States Green Building Council.

Ultimately, our society has to move toward an environmentally friendly model if we hope to keep the earth in healthy, working condition. In all facets of our society, sustainability has a place. It’s projects like these that are improving the present and inspiring the future of the sustainable philosophy.

Kristina Ross

Blogger at Save On Energy



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