I can remember when I was a kid that you always had one of your parents reminding you to not eat the snow as it was orange with the pollution from heavy manufacturing plants that were upwind from our home. We didn’t live in a “rust belt” territory, just happened to be a few hundred miles north of one. Today we can happily say that for the most part the worst of the pollution caused by heavy manufacturing is no longer the health threat it once was in North America. While we have, for the most part, shipped that particular problem overseas, that too is changing. Today more and more businesses of all types are moving towards a more planet-friendly “green” business model.
So, what does this look like if we continue down this path towards fewer polluting emissions and a greener more benign model for business? There are a few stellar examples of how applying this model to traditional manufacturing can be green and still be profitable. One good example is the manufacturing of rotational molding from FiberTech. This company uses recycled plastics in their products and also strives to have as small a carbon footprint as possible from the manufacturing process itself. Other businesses and industries are also working hard to make these changes. Here are a few more examples of the new direction different businesses are taking to be greener and more planet friendly.
Greener Building Design
This is an area that has really led the way on many fronts, from the introduction of solar panels for roofing to the creation of passive heating systems in skyscrapers using reflective heat from neighboring buildings. Elon Musk, the Edison of our era, has recently introduced a new kind of roofing tile that are made up of solar panels but look and work just like traditional tile roofs. As we move away from traditional heating from petroleum based products to renewable power sources, more and more innovative approaches to heat, light and even building materials is being studied.
Everything from building high rise buildings out of renewable wood products instead of environmentally insensitive concrete to finding ways to recycle more of the building materials that have traditionally gone to the dump are being explored in an effort to make the construction industry a greener and more environmentally friendly industry. But the building industry is not the only one looking to change from a business that has always been destructive for the environment to one that is a green participant.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles – Transit Goes Green
One of the big changes has come to major cities is the rethinking of transportation. In truth, this is a return to old thinking. Once upon a time most major cities were centers for innovative transit as the idea of individuals having their own transportation in a city was unthinkable. But more and more people joined the middle class and soon had their own cars.
Pollution and congestion arrived in urban centers. Today we recognize that transit, in the form of light rail, subways and electric buses are the future. As we begin to rethink our cities and invite the development of public transit to move our populations effortlessly, we will soon find that urban areas don’t have to be unhospitable centers for the majority of its population. Green really is a friendly approach to every aspect of our lives.