Is Sustainable Living Gaining Momentum or Losing Steam?

Sustainable living is the foundation of our company. Over the years, it’s been integrated more and more into our culture and designs. The industry is now driving the sustainability thought process, and we don’t have to beg for it to happen anymore. We’ve found that more people are expecting sustainable options during the design process and assuming they’re available – and we love it!

These days, more people are saying they don’t need a big house or a big car and that they could live in something more eco-friendly. This attitude is great because there are many more resources we can tap to make it easier to be sustainable. Emerging building science, materials and applications are making sustainable living easier and more thorough. These things are constantly being developed and improved. That’s leading to a new movement: people are increasingly willing to pay more for a longer-term return.

But has sustainable living lost steam? Maybe a little. From our experience, energy efficient appliances, water-saving plumbing, and electrical systems augmented with solar or geothermal sources can make electricity appear less expensive because they reduce utility bills. Electric and high-MPG cars reduce what auto owners pay at the pump. But when expenses drop owners tend to — you guessed it — use more energy. It makes us think the sustainable-living movement needs to drive a consumer paradigm shift. Users should be educated about their consumption patterns. Consumption levels need to hold steady in order for sustainable living to pay off.

The public-good promise of sustainable living is that it will reduce the amount of energy needed to accomplish the same tasks. That conserved energy can then be reallocated to another user, whereby increasing the number of users that an energy system (i.e. Xcel Energy or Minnesota Power) can support with the same amount of energy produced. When individuals see sustainable living as a way to consume more energy at a lower cost to themselves, then the benefit is moot. Mindful sustainable living reduces individual costs and helps the public at large.

With one eye on the environment, from your friends at Shelter.

Related Posts

Waste not, want not: embracing material reuse in design

Thoughts from Shelter team member Jakob Mahla Is adaptive reuse the answer? It’s no secret that the buildings that surround…

Read more

Sustainable design can serve your cannabis business

When budding cannabis entrepreneurs think green, they often have more than plants and profits in mind. As business owners prepare…

Read more

Pursuing petals: Shelter embraces the Living Building Challenge

Here’s to the belief that things must change. To using fewer resources. To creating fewer toxins. To nourishing our spirit…

Read more