The blueprint for sustainable living in Indian smart homes- from eco-friendly materials to longevity-focused design, discover how to transform homes for a greener future.
In recent years, there has been increasing awareness of environmental impact among Indian consumers. They have embraced sustainable practices like low-energy bulbs and water-saving fixtures. However, the potential for sustainability in smart homes is far greater and can play a significant role in optimising and protecting India’s environment, natural resources, and quality of life.
Sustainability is indeed becoming a priority for consumers. According to a global survey, nearly eight out of ten consumers worldwide value sustainability, and over 70% of them are willing to pay an average of 35% more for eco-friendly solutions. Products with ESG claims have seen substantial growth in sales. Indian consumers also respond positively to products that have a purpose beyond their basic functions.
For eco-friendly home devices in India, OEMs need a systematic approach to integrate sustainability throughout the product life cycle. Here are some key steps for OEMs to consider:
- Start with governmental regulations: Currently, the Indian smart home market is in its early stage, lacking historical data and growth expectations. Expecting rapid progress in the current circumstances is unrealistic. The government needs to introduce policies to disrupt the existing setup and ensure future growth. Policies should prioritise data safety, cyber security, and consumer privacy. Standardisation of products and promotion of smart homes in both new and existing houses should be encouraged. Additionally, a scheme for the development and implementation of demand response programs is necessary. By implementing these policies, the Indian market can follow the growth trends observed in other developed nations, where the smart home market is projected to increase tenfold.
- Analyse the materials used: Developers, owners, or operators must adapt to the digital, electric world with sustainable, resilient, efficient, and people-friendly buildings. The future of environmentally friendly products relies on sustainable designs that minimise harm to the environment while prioritising occupant health and comfort and enhancing building performance. This involves reducing non-renewable resource consumption, waste, and creating healthy living spaces. The emphasis should be on reducing the use of materials that are harmful to the environment, such as non-recyclable plastics. Eco-friendly alternatives like glass, ceramics, stainless steel, and bioplastics should be considered. Besides, the integration of intelligent electrical distribution systems has revolutionised cost control and carbon emissions reduction. Despite a modest initial investment (10% to 15% of the total budget), digitisation and software are crucial for reducing operating costs and energy consumption
- Measure sustainable criteria throughout production: OEMs can set clear sustainability metrics and goals for areas like energy efficiency, renewable materials use, and waste reduction. Secondly, they can conduct regular audits and assessments to monitor adherence to sustainable practices and identify areas for improvement. They can also collaborate with third-party certification bodies to obtain eco-labels or certifications that validate their sustainability efforts.
- Prioritise product durability: Smart home devices in India should be designed to be durable and long-lasting. Contrary to typical smart devices lasting two years, smart appliances should endure for 10 to 15 years. This can be achieved by embedding connectivity in firmware and ensuring high-quality construction. Prolonging the lifespan of products reduces energy consumption, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing and disposing of appliances.
- Support responsible end-of-life management: Implement strategies to manage product disposal responsibly. Establish collection points for electronic waste and collaborate with authorised recycling agencies to ensure proper recycling and resource recovery. For instance, an OEM developing televisions can partner with e-waste management companies to offer take-back programs and promote recycling initiatives.
- Consider eco-friendly distribution and delivery: OEMs can adopt eco-friendly distribution and delivery practices to reduce the environmental impact of smart home products in India. They can optimise packaging materials to minimise waste and utilise recyclable or biodegradable packaging options. Implementing efficient logistics and transportation systems can help reduce carbon emissions by optimising routes, utilising electric vehicles, and promoting shared transportation. Collaborating with local distribution partners can help reduce the distance travelled for deliveries. Additionally, OEMs can explore last-mile delivery alternatives like smart lockers or delivery consolidation centres to reduce individual trips and improve efficiency.
Smart Homes: The future
As India moves forward in embracing sustainability and adopting smart homes, it is crucial to address the pressing issue of e-waste management. The accumulation of electronic waste from smart homes poses risks to human health and the environment. To accelerate e-waste management, the shift from informal to formal recycling processes is essential. Currently, only a small percentage of e-waste is recycled safely. Collaborative efforts between the government, industry associations, and the public will help raise awareness and promote responsible e-waste disposal.
In a world urging sustainability, smart home solutions offer not just comfort but also the chance to reduce environmental impact. It’s time to embrace the transformative potential of this technology and embark on a journey towards a more sustainable future.