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Living Lab Is Not Just a Pretty Face; It’s a Blueprint for Future Living

As a participant in Specialty Publishing Media’s Living Lab, PowerShades is proud to help spread the word about sustainability, eco-consciousness, and the preservation of resources.

Our contribution to the project consists of motorized shades for the windows in this unique home. These shades are not only smart, as they can be controlled by any home automation system or the included remote, they were also developed around PoE (Power over Ethernet) technology. These shades require only five watts of power delivered through a standard CAT 5 or CAT 6 cable.

Of course, the main energy savings is found in the regular use of the product; in fact, motorized shades can reduce total energy consumption by up to 30%.PowerShades makes the process simple for homeowners, as they don’t have to try and remember to raise and lower the shades; those tasks are programmed into the customized schedule created by the homeowner, which results in effortless, passive savings. An east-facing window, for example, can be programmed in the winter to rise when the sun does, bringing as much sunlight as possible into the house and lowering heating costs. It’s good for the earth and for the consumer’s pocketbook.

While we love touting the benefits of our motorized shades, we’d like to take a moment to recognize Specialty Publishing Media for producing the Living Lab project. There are a number of similar projects around the country and around the world, all with the intention of showcasing how sustainable living can be achieved, both practically and cost-efficiently. And while all the projects are admirable and were conceived to highlight the benefits of sustainability and resource-saving, few are as comprehensive, organized, and well thought-out as this one. And for that, Peggy Smedley, David Smedley, Jennifer Smedley, and Laura Black deserve high praise.

But there is an even bigger message that needs to be delivered here. These types of experimental, sustainable-living ventures are being created not just to illustrate how we can be more “cooperative” with our planet; they are a warning sign that the way we are living now is simply not going to be possible in the relatively near future—a future in which our world needs to be nurtured to mitigate the wrongs we have committed against it for too many years.

The World Wildlife Fund is an independent conservation organization. On its website is a section entitled, “Why We Promote Sustainable Living.” The first paragraph encapsulates why sustainable living is no longer just a lifestyle for the so-called “tree-huggers,” but a manner of existence we must all embrace—for the planet’s survival:

“Our planet can only produce a finite number of resources…and can only withstand a certain degree of greenhouse gas emissions in order to stay healthy. We only have one Earth and are utterly dependent on it for our survival and well-being.”

In the second paragraph is a tidbit that is even more alarming: “The biggest driver of environmental degradation is the fact that we’re consuming resources at an unsustainable rate…[in fact], much of the planet’s economic growth has been achieved as a result of over-exploiting resources, such as fossil fuels.”  

Our stance is sustainable living showcases like the Living Lab need to be viewed, quite literally, through the lens of global preservation. There can be a tendency to look at these ventures and marvel at the technology, admire the architecture, and examine the use of new and different materials while losing perspective on what has necessitated these types of projects: the fact that we are decimating the earth in so many ways.

There’s nothing wrong with someone viewing the Living Lab and deciding that they would love to have a home just like it, based solely on the aesthetic appeal. But let’s remember that endeavors like the Living Lab are being undertaken for far more than aesthetics; they’re being created as a blueprint for our ultimate survival.

About the Author

Ryan Chacon is president of PowerShades, one of the leading manufacturers of manual and motorized shades.

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