Living sustainably has become more important to many people concerned by the worsening environmental impact of global warming. More and more conscientious adults are seeking ways to curb wasteful practices and do their part for the environment, whether that means purchasing eco-friendly Portland modern homes, demanding organic and locally sourced foodstuffs, and/or finding ways to eschew modern manufacturing in favor of homemade goods. The good news is, with so many consumers seeking sustainable solutions these days, more entrepreneurs than ever before are embracing sustainable trends.
You might not think that goods made from recycled and upcycled materials are anything new – Portland neighborhoods jumped on the recycling bandwagon long ago. However, manufacturers have started to embrace the benefits associated with discarding the linear production model (manufacturer to consumer to landfill) in favor of repurposing, a practice that can save time and money in manufacturing by virtually turning trash into treasure. In particular, garbology, or the use of human garbage to create building materials like roofing, bricks, wall panels, and insulation, is slowly becoming more popular.
Renewable energy is also on the rise thanks to laws requiring that power companies meet certain standards for sustainable energy over the next several years. However, not all areas have the sun, wind, and water needed to create green energy. For this reason, eco-friendly construction has become a viable alternative. If Portland condos can’t reap the benefits of renewable energy, at least they can use less energy overall. In terms of eco-friendliness and energy-efficiency, there are two standards that are making waves.
Most Americans have heard of LEED certification, which is the gold standard for eco-friendliness. Fewer are aware of Passive House (or Passivhaus), the German movement in energy-efficient building. One of the earliest examples of this design movement in the U.S. was erected in Portland and these days there are consulting firms that specialize in this type of structure.
Sustainability isn’t just about the way Portland lofts are built and decorated, though. In addition to sustaining the planet, we also have to work to sustain the people who live here, which means avoiding the exploitation of workers. Although fair trade practices don’t necessarily fall under the category of sustainability, most people who are aware of industrial pollution and waste also recognize the worldwide problem of child and forced labor and find ways to avoid companies that promote such practices. Just look at the boycott against Nestle, which refuses to undergo fair trade certification. We all have a duty to protect the future of our planet through sustainable practices. When you vote with your consumer dollars, think about protecting people, as well.