The "Green" Generation?

The worlds as we know them, business, marketing, religion, even relationships, are going to see some notable changes as Millennials continue to filter into the market place. I am not a social scientist, and so do not have elaborate specifics, but I do propose one granular expectation that I have.

Perhaps the most powerful (by shear size) generation in American history, Millennials will tip the scales for, or against a great multitude of things. My interest lies in their potential impact on the green economy, specifically in green home building and renovations. In many aspects of the economy the Millennial attitude toward environmentalism and “green” living is yet to be determined, and some would argue does not look promising. They are the most environmentally educated generation ever, the question is will they put their wallets in line with that knowledge? They are the greatest “have it now” generation we have known yet, with an appetite for all the latest gadgets and gizmo’s most of which are the most environmentally harmful ever. But how will this demand for instant gratification and the latest in technology and style impact their home buying and renovation decisions?

I speculate that the mere chic of going green in home building will bring a large Millennial market share. However, the instant gratification demand is also met through energy savings, improved comfort through air quality and temperature control, and the ability to show off their “product”. The other side of the coin for new construction could be a lack of choice in the first place. If the federal, state, and local governments continue to provide tax incentives for builders and home owners to “go green” eventually buyers will be back to choosing between this house and that house, not the LEED house or the “draft”house down the street. “Green” could (and should) become an irrelevant term because of sheer ubiquity of the product. With adequate Millennial drive and continued government backing that could become a reality.

The issue, however is the fact that at the end of the day Millennials may simply remain “carbon neutral” in comparison to today’s consumers. Unless technology companies figure out a way to continue to meet the demand for new products and to produce record volumes of those products, while also reducing the energy put into creating them, reducing the waste that is represented by their lack of lifespan and recycleability, and adjust how products are powered the Millennials will have to do a heck of a lot of green home building and renovation to offset their lifestyle.

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