The message at this year’s Opportunity Green conference was clear when it comes to the future of sustainable products: consumers can’t sacrifice for green.
“The value that customers get from a product or service has to be consistent,” said Annie Lescroart of eBay. “When we think about scale as sustainability professionals, we need to think about persistent consumer values like style and cost, and not ask people to make a sacrifice for green.”
Here are our fav picks from the conference that embody smart design, cost-savings and environmental savvy.
1. BMW ActiveE
The BMW ActiveE is everything you’d expect from BMW – design, luxury and quality. One major difference: It’s 100 percent electric, offering a range of 100 miles per charge. The car isn’t simply a gas model with an electric engine, it’s designed with BMW’s “Purpose Build,” and incorporates tech to improve range such as carbon fiber to reduce weight and active cooling to extend battery life. Like a typical sedan, it incorporates four seats, usable trunk space and rear-wheel drive.
2. Indo Teak Design
Indo Teak Designs produces high-quality, cost-competitive wood products from 100 percent reclaimed teak. From paneling to furniture, the custom-design based, Forest Stewardship Council certified company has zero-waste operations. On top of that, Indo Teak reclaims the wood by hand from seasoned Indonesian structures up to 300 years old.
If it isn’t recycled, glass takes more than 4,000 years to break down. BottleHood reclaims glass from local restaurants, bars and events and repurposes it into everything from glassware to lamps to jewelry. The company even reuses the wood from barrels for platters to make functional housewares, going beyond typical drinking glasses to additional, creative designs.
4. Boxman Studios
You won’t find your typical run-of-the-mill shipping container designs at Boxman Studios. Building everything from stages to retail spaces, the company is unique in the shipping container biz. “What makes us different is that we are a vertical company, so we do the design, the manufacturing, all the logistics,” says David Campbell, CEO. “Usually [shipping container projects] are a one-off, but I wanted to create a space where if somebody wanted to do something with us it wouldn’t be ungodly expensive.
Tina Hovsepian, founder and creator of Cardborigami, saw a problem with living conditions for the homeless in southern California. The determined designer created an amazing foldable shelter made entirely of cardboard. Hovsepian told Earth911 that she hopes for the final product to be waterproof, flame-retardant and recyclable. These instant shelters can not only be customized to help give residents a sense of home, but they also have doors for extra privacy.
Editor’s Note: Earth911 received complimentary passes to attend the 2011 Opportunity Green conference, where it was an official Media Partner