Transforming Our Future
Ready or not, we’re shifting into the Decarbonization Economy. Signs of this metamorphosis are all around us.
The transition to the Decarbonization Economy will not only free us of carbon emissions and yield some of the largest capital gains that we’ve ever seen, it will revolutionize our entire economy.
No sector will be immune. Buildings, transportation, industry, agriculture—soon they’ll all be clean, green, connected, electric, and resilient.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is facilitating the change, enabling intelligent devices to remotely manage everything, from manufacturing to building operations to vehicle fleets to power grids, with the goal of optimizing efficiency.
As IoT proliferates, Artificial Intelligence technology is simultaneously being developed to monitor and solve for cybercrime to enhance digital security across all systems and platforms.
Electric Technologies Reign
Another sign that the Decarbonization Economy is here is the continued rapid adoption of renewable energy. Wind and solar energy are now cost-competitive in most parts of the world, and clean energy technologies can now harvest more power using less space and fewer resources than ever before.
In fact, studies by Environment America show that solar panels and wind turbines are approximately 40 percent more efficient than those produced a decade ago, while the cost of wind power dropped by 71 percent and utility-scale solar by 90 percent over the last decade.
To our collective benefit, the better way has become the more economical way.
Like a game of dominos, the adoption of clean energy technologies is leading to the transformation of grid architecture. Power generation is becoming more distributed and localized, with enhanced load management and optimized demand-side energy management.
Connected to the Internet
Homes, buildings, and communities will soon become mini-microgrids and virtual power plants. They will offer enhanced power resiliency and stability, now paramount as natural disasters like wildfires and superstorms take out grid infrastructure with increasing frequency, and as utilities are forced to implement rolling brownouts during periods of extreme weather.
Hand-in-hand with the rise of renewables is the fast-track to the full-scale electrification of buildings and transportation, the key to which is battery storage—a segment that is undergoing breakneck transformation.
Solid-state batteries by companies like Quantum Scape promise to revolutionize the cost equations for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage systems, with the per watt-hour cost of utility-scale battery storage falling 70 percent just in the past five years.
Sophisticated software is also being developed that can manage, monitor, and optimize battery storage systems, allowing the seamless sharing of energy between homes, buildings, vehicles, devices, and the grid.
DC power will also become the norm in the Decarbonization Economy, allowing for streamlined power generation, storage, and usage in solar-based systems (rather than the current model of converting from solar system DC power to AC power, the standard electricity format that comes out of outlets.)
Consumers Demand, Companies Follow
But it’s not just technology that is propelling us into a carbon-free future. Enhanced consumer awareness and bold commitments by companies and investors are accelerating climate action, making the Decarbonization Economy virtually inevitable.
With 77 percent of millennials willing to pay more for environmentally sustainable products and Gen-Zs are quickly becoming the most ardently active and passionately vocal generation, the sustainability revolution is here.
In response to mounting consumer interest, multinational corporations have entered a fierce competition to become the sustainability leaders in their sectors, pledging to become net neutral with respect to energy, water, materials, emissions, waste, operations, packaging, and mobility within the next decade. Sustainability is now a moral imperative, driving business strategy, innovation, and sales.
Smart Cities Led by Smart Leaders
And local, state, and national governments are playing their role too, leveraging policy and regulation to drive climate action as well as markets. While the U.S. government has relied heavily on state-level efforts to date, it’s clear that the Biden Administration, coupled with many Republicans who support climate action, are placing climate policy front and center of their agenda. This will enhance our nation’s—and our planet’s—security, prosperity, and wellbeing.
So, where does this all lead? To a wholly redesigned economy, with massive disruption and groundbreaking innovation on par with the Industrial Revolution and the Digitization Economy (driven by the advent of the Internet.) No doubt, when we look back on this moment in time, we’ll recognize it as one of the most substantially transformative periods of human history.
Publisher’s Note: This content is made possible by our Today’s Home Buyer Campaign Sponsors: Panasonic, Whirlpool, Rockwool, and Lee Industries. These companies take sustainability seriously, in both their products and their operations. Learn more about building and buying homes that are more affordable and less resource-intensive on Today's Home Buyer.