2023 In Review – Green Shoots Of Progress

Everywhere you go these days, you can’t help but hear something about the climate. Whether it’s on the news or word of mouth. Every week there seems to be a new report to serve as a reminder of the challenge ahead. But it’s not all doom and gloom, that’s the good thing. There is a lot of good news to tell as well. There are some exciting technologies being developed and making progress at the moment which will be beneficial in tackling climate change. In this guide, we will highlight a few of them. With the year coming to an end, we wanted to do a 2023 in review to look at the green shoots of progress as we move into a more hopeful 2024 and beyond.

Good news! Electric Flights are coming

It’s not as far away as you might think – in fact, earlier this year, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) launched tickets for their maiden electric flights. So when will these flights take place? 

Apparently, it could be as soon as 2028 – and tickets are as low as £140, for flights across Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

This is a massive step, as the airline industry in 2022 accounted for 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions, having grown faster in recent decades than some other forms of transport such as shipping.

The plane that is set to be used is named “Alice” and was developed by Eviation. It is capable of short haul flights up to 400 miles and took its inaugural flight in late 2022. 

The downside is that with current technology, its capacity is only nine passengers plus two pilots and their baggage, which will hardly transport the masses as of yet. However, for smaller, regional flights and airlines it could see a lot of use and save a lot of emissions. After all, these are the first steps of larger changes coming as we review the green shoots of progress in 2023 and look forward to a bright sustainable future.

Carbon net zero buildings

For regular buildings, there are carbon dioxide emissions associated with almost every aspect within them. There are operational emissions from heating, cooling, water generation, lighting, operation of equipment such as lifts and so much more. 

On top of this, there are what’s called embodied emissions. These are the emissions from the creation of building materials, their transport, and from construction. Overall, it can be quite a lot.

We are now seeing the beginnings of net zero buildings. Through careful planning and design when it comes to both operational and embodied emissions. Also with considerations like power sources, building materials and construction methods.

Many net zero buildings contain carbon neutral methods of energy generation. However with current technology, this isn’t always sufficient to provide power to the whole building. 

As a result, carbon net zero buildings have to take some power from the national grid, which is still partly maintained by fossil fuels. To compensate, these buildings do their own carbon offsetting. 

In the longer term, these buildings may have enhanced ways to generate their own energy. The national grid may also itself may make a bigger move towards renewable energy.

Transparent solar panels

We know solar panels today as the blue, chunky eyesores some people put on the tops of their houses. 

However, companies such as Ubiquitous Energy are seeking to take this a step further by imagining a world where every surface could generate energy from our Sun.

You might think that the issue with transparent solar panels is that they allow light to pass through instead of absorbing it, hence not generating anything. 

Clever you. But, visible light is not the only wavelength of light that can be absorbed. Ultraviolet and infrared rays can be absorbed to generate energy. Even better, this can be done on a transparent surface.

The result could be one day that your windows or the glass on your phone screen could generate energy as you go about your business, which would be a huge step to moving away from fossil fuels. 

The tech isn’t quite there to be used in mass and affordably, but the science is there – another issue is that by not absorbing visible light, these transparent solar panels aren’t especially efficient yet. They are definitely ones to watch out for in future, though.

Solar powered electric cars: will they ever happen?

A match made in heaven. Some electric cars are beginning to add solar panels as a feature.

Apparently, solar panels alone and the correct conditions would allow electric cars to travel 30-40 miles on their own, without charging. Which is fantastic news as a lot of car journeys are over shorter distances.

This innovation will significantly reduce the need for all that cumbersome charging which currently means electric cars lag behind petrol in terms of convenience. 

To achieve this mileage on solar, engineers are working to make electric cars lighter. This will reduce the strain on the battery and therefore allowing solar energy to last longer. As with everything solar, it is all weather dependent!

Good news: the future’s looking bright

As we wrap up this 2023 in review through the exciting world of sustainable innovations, it’s clear that the future is looking bright – literally! 

From electric flights soaring across Scandinavian skies to the potential of transparent solar panels adorning our buildings and devices. The possibilities are limitless as we review 2023 and look forward to 2024 and the future.

But let’s not forget the present moment. Right now, you can make a significant impact by exploring our extensive selection of climate-friendly products, even for everyday use

Every choice you make contributes to a more sustainable future for us all.

So, whether it’s embracing cutting-edge technologies or making mindful choices in your daily life, we’re all part of the collective effort towards a more sustainable world. 

For a fantastic selection of climate friendly products on a platform run on renewable, check out the rest of the website here.

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