This week I want to write about the ways in which sustainability has begun to change consumer behaviour - and how this trend will continue into the future.
Individual action has a huge role to play in our planet’s journey to safeguard the future, and we have all heard how everyday actions like recycling, reducing our consumption or walking rather than driving can add up to make a significant positive impact.
Consumer behaviour is starting to reflect the growing realisation that we each contribute to the problem in many ways that could be avoided if approached differently.
Heat pumps are the next big step we can all take
Small changes count
This year, I have finally convinced the other members of my household to join me in having a meat-free day each week (no small feat considering our carnivorous tendencies!).
Others have written on The Hub about the power of the collective and how, despite feeling small and insignificant, if we all make one change to our lives, then collectively this will add up to a huge change for the country.
This can be as simple as making sure you don’t leave TV’s, computers, games consoles, etc. on when not in-use, saving power and cutting your bills, whilst also reducing carbon.
Or it could be making sure that the next time you buy a new appliance, it is as energy efficient as possible.
Go for efficiency
What you should already have done – which again can save you money, is look at making your home as efficient as possible.
Make sure you have blocked any draughts and always close curtains at night to keep the heat in.
Shut doors between rooms, to maximise the efficiency of the heating system.
But what about those goods and services that are irreducible?
It would be inconceivable to attempt an electricity-free day each week, or to forgo heating and cooking by going for a gas-free day - so what are consumers to do in these cases?
Research shows that consumer behaviours are changing here too; with ever more shifts towards making purchasing decisions on the basis of sustainability.
This is also reflected in government thinking with the prediction of heating moving to renewable sources such as heat pumps over the next decade.
At Mitsubishi Electric, we’ve already invested in heat pumps over the past decade and we are seeing a lot more interest from heating engineers and plumbers who realise that oil and gas heating really are on the way out.
So the next big step we can all take is to factor in the change from carbon-intensive heating such as gas and oil, to renewable, sustainable electric heating using a heat pump.
And the more installers we can get trained, the easier and less costly it will be to get one installed.
I also came across this research (admittedly conducted pre-Covid and before the current emphasis on a green recovery), which shows just how important sustainability has become to consumers.
Interestingly it also highlights that age and income are defining factors, which perhaps says a lot about those pushing the green agenda, but also highlights how much work we all still need to do to get sustainable technologies front of mind for the majority.
Jack Bain is a member of the Sustainability team