To meet the demands of the growing green economy, a lot more eco entrepreneurs are doing to be needed, building products and services that support and enable sustainability, not only on a large scale, but also, and perhaps especially, for the individual and their home.
We’re seeing a rising trend of interest in people who want to learn how to be more self-sufficient, to save money and water and other resources with everyday activities, as well as a desire to lower their carbon footprint and to enter into new relationships with their food sources and local economy.
So when I saw this self-sufficiency infographic over at Sustainablog, it struck me that each one of the four steps to energy independence listed on it is a huge market opportunity for eco entrepreneurs, and that if you’re looking for a green business idea or pain point to overcome for the green demographic, you might start by addressing one or more of these.
For each one of the steps on the graphic, here are a few brief examples of potential eco products and services for the new green economy:
Step 1: Cut your power usage. Products that can optimize and automate processes in the home or office that relate to energy use, such as smart thermostats, home energy management software and devices, energy-efficiency technology, will be increasingly in demand in the residential and consumer sector. Finding a better way to cut energy waste through more intelligent insulation solutions, building better homes with smart design and sustainable construction practices, and coming up with products to retrofit older homes for efficiency could all be worthy, and profitable, endeavors in the coming years.
Step 2: Find an alternate source of water. Optimizing the water currently used in and around the house through products such as water monitoring systems, dual-flush converters, intelligent landscape watering automation (and drip irrigation systems), low-flow shower and faucet heads, energy- and water-efficient appliances, and composting toilets are all great places to start. Rainwater collection systems, green cleaning products and tools, landscape mulch and compost from municipal yard waste, water-wise landscape design, and water filtering solutions for both the home and the office, are a few other ideas that could be turned into a successful green product or service.
Step 3: Secure an energy source. For the average homeowner, rooftop solar systems are very attractive and beneficial, so running a solar energy design and install service might be a viable green business, and depending on the region, a residential wind power service could be a great part of a clean energy business or electrical contracting company. Providing energy auditing services to optimize energy use (as in Step 1) could help homeowners reap the lowest hanging fruit on the energy tree by focusing on ‘negawatts’. Solar hot water systems for both retrofitting in conventional homes, or as a design element of a new eco-home, can be another way of approaching the home energy puzzle. Software and hardware to enable electric vehicle to building connections for energy storage and management will be increasingly more important as more EVs and smart homes enter the market.
Step 4: Produce your own food. Home gardening solutions are not only timely, due to the increased interest in supporting the local and homegrown food economy, but which also address another basic need, which is our own health and nutrition. Green business ideas surrounding food production can take many different forms, such as garden and yard watering automation, monitoring systems for air, water, and weather, edible insect systems, backyard gardening systems and guides, greenhouses and aquaponics systems, making compost and soil amendments, growing plant starts, growing and harvesting seeds for local plant varieties, providing permaculture design services, installing edible landscaping, developing indoor growing systems, and starting a CSA farm or farm-to-table restaurant sales.
Check out Jeff’s piece below, and let me know in the comments if you’ve got additional ideas for any of these eco entrepreneur market opportunities:
Sustainability: the Key to a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle [Infographic]
We green types get accused of loving nature, the environment, etc., more than human beings a lot. But, from my perspective, an environmentally sustainable lifestyle is pretty human friendly: not only do we all need clean air, water, and soil to survive…