Climate-related crises like rising sea levels, severe weather events and longer drought seasons are challenging the global economy. They’re also driving the launch of new clean technologies.
Here are five examples of how these new technologies are changing and improving daily life:
1. Making clean energy easier to access:
With the renewable energy sector experiencing tremendous growth, solar energy is becoming a more affordable solution for Americans who were previously left out of the solar revolution. Projects like the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund are putting solar on homes and tribal buildings in rural parts of Indian Country to reduce energy costs and advance Energy Sovereignty.
2. Creating new jobs when they’re needed most.
In addition to cleaner air and reducing carbon, the renewable energy sector is creating thousands of clean energy jobs in communities across the U.S.
3. Improving buildings like hospitals, schools and offices.
With commercial buildings accounting for about 40% of all electricity use in the U.S., and heightened concern around safety and indoor air quality, the founders of startup 75F are using internet-of-things-powered building management systems and cloud-based software to improve heating and cooling efficiencies, maintain occupant comfort and improve air quality in commercial buildings.
4. Helping farmers become more productive and resilient.
Agriculture currently accounts for 70% of the world’s water usage and 14% of its energy usage. Startup Pluton Biosciences is using microbes to help identify and address soil imbalances and diseases before they become a larger problem on particular parcels of land. This is helping farmers remain productive and efficient in the face of unpredictable weather patterns, pollution and crop infestations. The company CoverCress is working on a new cash crop for the Midwest that farmers can plant during winter months in between corn and soybean seasons. The crop sequesters carbon and can be harvested as a low-carbon feed for livestock.
5. Boosting affordable housing inventory so more people can find homes.
Construction technologies like Blokable’s pre-fabricated building system are addressing the housing affordability crisis by creating multi-family housing units that are highly efficient, drastically reducing the volume of construction waste.
Programs like the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator, which works with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, are investing in new clean energy startups, helping them bring game-changing climate solutions to market. Experts say that such investments will be critical in the years to come.
“Continued investment in startups and entrepreneurs focused on low-carbon solutions will help build a stronger global economy and more resilient communities, and help avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” says Ramsay Huntley, sustainable finance strategist at Wells Fargo.