The Human Aspect to Clean Tech
As I write this, I’ve just finished the first full day of the European Green Capitals conference in Stockholm. The session that stood out was from the three industrial sponsors – Siemens, IBM and Nordic energy company Fortum – talking about what business could bring to sustainable urbanism. As expected they all did quite a bit of PR, but the message that came out is that they are all increasingly focussing on the human factors side of the solutions they deliver. Up to 75% of potential carbon abatement relies on other organisations and the general public to change their behaviour. The low carbon technology bit is easy, went the message, but designing it to be used effectively is quite a different matter.
I believe that the techno-fix vs behavioural change argument is often a false one. The best technologies enable green behaviour, eg iTunes which saves up to 80% of the carbon of buying a CD and a lot of hassle. The tricky bit is finding lots more such synergistic solutions where the consumer wants to take the low carbon option.