Will Technology Make Sustainability Cheaper?

Stuart Williams
By Stuart Williams 6 Min Read
will technology make sustainability cheaper

Most of us like the idea of living a life that’s more environmentally sustainable. In other words, we want to use less energy, reduce pollution, and generally act in ways that allow the environment to maintain its integrity for the long term.

But right now, many of the technological options we have to live more sustainable lives are expensive or otherwise out of reach. For example, the average person can’t afford to install a solar panel array in their backyard to cover all their electricity needs.

Is evolving technology going to make sustainability cheaper and more accessible in the future? Or are there some components of sustainability that will simply remain inaccessible to certain people?

Sustainability Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

First, it’s important to recognize that sustainability doesn’t have to be expensive. Sure, there are many ways that you can renovate and upgrade your home to make it more energy independent and sustainable, but not all of these changes need to break your budget.

There are upgrades you can make to your house and life right now that, while inexpensive, can help you significantly mitigate your environmental impact. For example, a toilet seat bidet is relatively inexpensive and easy to install, but it can help you greatly reduce your toilet paper consumption – and actively save both water and energy in the process. You can also follow simple strategies like reducing your consumption, choosing products with recycled elements, and reusing or recycling products instead of simply disposing of them.

Many technologies are designed to be not only sustainable, but affordable as well. Adjusting for inflation, modern consumer appliances aren’t significantly more expensive than they’ve been in the past, but they also tend to be extremely efficient in comparison. In other words, the cost of a refrigerator is pretty much the same, but modern refrigerators use far less electricity and water to remain operational.

With this perspective, we don’t have to count on pure technological advancement or expensive upgrades to pursue greater sustainability – even if the highest peaks of sustainable action aren’t totally accessible to us.

The Course of Technological Evolution

It’s also worth noting that technological evolution does trend toward making technologies cheaper.

The law of supply and demand dictates countless economic outcomes, and is the primary force to consider here. As demand for a product rises and/or as supply for that product decreases, its price increases. The price decreases in response to demand falling or supply rising.

As new technologies are developed, and as consumers increasingly demand those technologies, more competitors flood to the marketplace to provide them. This applies direct competitive pressure, which forces these competitors to innovate, and generally establishes conditions that favor competitors who price their products lower. Given enough time, this environment produces better versions of existing technologies for lower and lower prices.

Obviously, there are some limits to this dynamic. But it’s reasonable to expect that technologies related to environmental sustainability should become more diverse, more sophisticated, more abundant, and cheaper in the future.

The Role of Government

The U.S. government already has many economic incentives in place to encourage individuals and businesses to pursue more environmentally responsible practices. Given that sustainability and environmental protections are so important to so many politicians and agencies, it’s reasonable to suspect that there will be even more economic incentives in the future, subsidizing or mitigating the costs of choosing environmental sustainability.

There may also be penalties for not operating in an environmentally sustainable manner in the future. This would make unsustainable practices more expensive, reducing the comparative cost of sustainability.

Resource Scarcity

One of the goals of sustainability is reducing consumptive pressure on finite, limited resources. Again following the law of supply and demand, as these resources become scarcer, the prices for them are going to increase. This will hypothetically guide people to more sustainable technologies and practices, as existing limited resources increase in price.

For example, solar energy is currently competitive in terms of price, but fossil fuel-based energies are still relatively abundant and cheap. As fossil fuels become scarcer and harder to acquire, the prices for these resources are going to naturally rise. In contrast, solar energy technology is likely to become more advanced and less expensive to produce, making it a dominant competitor in the field – instead of a mere peer.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line here is that yes, technology should make sustainable lifestyles cheaper and more accessible in the future. And even better, there are multiple forces pushing technologies and consumers in this direction. As we become more environmentally conscious from a collective standpoint, we should have the money, the technological products, and the motivation necessary to live cleaner, more ecologically sound lives in the coming years.

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Hey, I'm Stuart, a tech enthusiast and writing expert. With a passion for technology, I specialize in crafting in-depth articles, reviews, and affiliate content. In the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, I've witnessed how the age of the internet has transformed technology journalism. Even in the era of social media and video marketing, reading articles remains crucial for gaining valuable insights and staying informed. Join me as we explore the exciting realm of tech together!
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