January means list time. Everyone feels entitled to publish an annual top ten list around the New Year, looking back on 2007’s notable scientific discoveries, blunders, and cat videos. But Sustainable Industries is looking ahead. The monthly green business magazine, nominated for a 2007 Utne Independent Press Award for its environmental coverage, has put out its annual Trend Watch, with in-depth articles on eight green business trends we can expect to see in 2008.
One thing to anticipate in 2008 is growth in the green building products industry. Despite worries over the U.S. housing slump, the green building market has been growing rapidly, with the market for green building materials increasing a whopping 23 percent annually from 2004 to 2006. Sustainable Industries attributes the growth to consumer demand, stricter building codes, and the reduced operating costs that come with green buildings.
But consumers aren’t satisfied with just living in green buildings—they also want to be able to keep tabs on their energy consumption within the home. Which is why Sustainable Industries predicts we will see an increase in technology that gives consumers easy access to energy usage information: “A growing number of savvy companies are providing value-added services that help individual users make sense of the environmental data available, using the now-ubiquitous cell phones, PDAs, laptops and other personal communication tools available.” One such tool, featured in Good magazine, shows how much energy is sucked up by common household appliances even when they are turned off. And Sustainable Industries reports that Nissan plans to add displays to vehicles that tell the driver how their acceleration and braking behaviors affect fuel efficiency.
Other predictions for 2008? Expect to see advances in battery operated cars, increased reliance on renewable energy sources, and a consolidation of green media sources.