Oct 25, 2017 - 3min read
In the Green Room we are talking to people at the forefront of the sustainable technology movement – finding out how sustainability has impacted their lives, and how they envision technology changing the world for the better.
We’re kicking off the feature with our product director Steve Springett – the man selecting the products that will both halve our members’ energy bills by 2022 and work together to efficiently power our home of the future.
He is extremely technically-minded and likes wearing bow ties.
Sure, it was just another nineties cartoon with a catchy theme tune but the message was important then and it’s even more so now – climate change is real. Educating youngsters on this topic is so important as they’re the ones who will have to live with the consequences. Fun, educational characters like Captain Planet and the Planeteers make sure kids understand the impact we’re having on the world around us.
I live in a flat in London – so solar panels, a battery, or an electric vehicle aren’t really options for me (though in the future I’d love to see more cool projects in our capital like the Brooklyn Microgrid). Kate (my other half) went veggie after she looked into the environmental impacts of mass meat farming. While I still have the occasional beef Sunday roast, any meat (and veg for that matter) that we eat at home is organic, sustainably grown and – where possible – locally sourced.
I’d imagine they’re a popular choice – but that’s sort of exactly the reason why. They’re making profound statements about our renewable future, so people and businesses rally round them. If they pull off what they’re trying to do with EVs, batteries, public transport, and all of the other stuff they’re doing, our planet could be a lot better off for it. It also helps that they make it fun and exciting too; I test drove a Tesla recently and felt utterly giddy throughout.
Chatter within the energy industry is already in overdrive, but I think the uptake of home electricity storage by UK homeowners will take off and increase exponentially in the next few years. Batteries are great for a number of reasons (including reducing your electricity bills), but my main reason for liking them is that they’ll totally transform our relationship with energy supply and the grid.
Smart Thermostats are a good example of a machine learning how we live our lives, then making the necessary changes for us. There are much more complex applications too, like sub-second home battery responses to help balance our national grid – which wouldn’t be possible (or desirable) for us humans to do ourselves. That said, what would be a real shame is if AI takes over our energy management to the extent that we stop understanding the context of the energy choices being made on our behalf. Without that context, we might unintentionally exclude ourselves from further sustainability learning and innovation.
Instead of playing on games consoles, my sisters and I spent our time outdoors – playing in the snow, exploring the woods, making forts and so on. I think growing up in such a beautiful place has made me appreciate how amazing the natural world can be – so I guess I’m embracing tech a little later in life to make sure we keep it that way.
It’s hardly criminal wanting to go on holiday, but you look at the stats in terms of how much fuel jet engines churn through and it’s scary. Kate and I have been on some awesome weekend breaks and long-haul holidays over the years, but we’ve decided to go local for our next one by renting a hybrid and heading to the Cotswolds for some hiking. It’s easy to forget how beautiful and accessible parts of our own country can be.