Is a luxury lifestyle bad for the environment?
When we think of a luxury lifestyle, what comes to mind? Expensive cars, private jets, vacations in faraway places, fancy dinners at fine restaurants, and the like? While wealth has its advantages, a key benefit is allowing the individual the freedom to choose the lifestyle they want to experience. While many appreciate and envy this freedom of choice, it may come as a surprise that many wealthy individuals choose to use their freedom to participate in and promote environmental sustainability, environmental footprint reduction, conservation, and global stewardship. What’s even more exciting is that ordinary people can also participate without the need for extreme wealth.
While the light-emitting diode has been around for decades, we are only just beginning to see this technology transform into a proven tool for replacing incandescent and halogen bulbs while significantly reducing energy consumption. LED light bulbs now come in all shapes and sizes and have evolved from their crude and unrefined beginnings to sharp modern designs that appeal not only to the eye but also to the pocket. They also last much longer than regular bulbs, which is definitely a plus. When considering how many individual bulbs are in a single average-sized home and the expense associated with powering those lights, it’s no surprise that a key priority for many is converting their existing lights to LED lights. The only factor inhibiting the widespread proliferation of LED lights is the initial expense. Not everyone can afford to spend thousands of dollars to convert all the lights in their home to LED lights, even if they will recoup that money in lower energy bills. The good news is that as more people, such as those who enjoy the luxury lifestyle, demand more LED lights, the cost to consumers will become more reasonable, which will reduce the cost of access to these great products. Some websites even allow you to buy LED lights in bulk at deep discounts and have them delivered to your doorstep, proving that brilliant ideas can be affordable.
pimp my ride
If you think of the rich riding around in their Bentleys, Ferraris, and Cadillacs SUVs, take a look again. Many affluent are making the conscious decision to reduce their carbon emissions footprint by supplementing their collection of flashy, gas-guzzling rides with hybrid vehicles or all-electric rides. Although until recently there were only a few hybrid or electric options for commercial consumption, the range of options has exploded, and with fantastic styling that will turn heads. With brands like Lincoln, Lexus and Porche now producing hybrid options, you can have your cake and eat it too. And for those who enjoy the look of an exotic car, check out the Karma from Fisker Automotive. With styling reminiscent of an Aston Martin, this car definitely fits in the “hot ride” category.
But if you live in a modern metropolis like New York, Toronto, or London, the most appealing option for both functionality and style would be a moped, or more accurately, an electric bike. Electric bikes are powered electric bikes that can get you anywhere pretty quickly, especially when there is any level of traffic. Consuming mere pennies per load and being able to travel 40-50 kilometers on a single charge at 30-50 kilometers per hour, the benefits of this mode of transport are being explored by more and more people. In addition to being slightly more affordable than a car, electric bikes are extremely fun to ride and are perfect for quick trips to the market or visiting friends. The bonus every time you drive your hybrid or electric vehicle is the good feeling you get knowing you’re creating a minimal environmental footprint.
A look at the teak
If you get together often or have a lot of friends over for a summer barbecue, you’ll know that buying a good patio set is an essential addition to your home. Patio sets come in a variety of styles, materials, and prices. In this category of home furnishings you can find everything from the inexpensive and cheerful to the more luxurious with the associated price tag. So how could a patio set have an impact on the environment? You don’t drive it and it doesn’t use energy. The key features that have an environmental impact for garden furniture are the materials used to make the furniture and the frequency of replacement. Cheap garden furniture is usually made from tubular metal that has been painted, along with plastic parts. The materials themselves can be hazardous to the environment as materials rust, paint bubbles and flakes, and plastic components become brittle and break. They have to be replaced every few years with new games, and old games are sent to the landfill and placed in landfills. The cheaper the sets, the more environmentally damaging and less biodegradable the components tend to be. Now, the other side of this corner is the teak garden furniture. Teak is a natural material that is now harvested in an environmentally sustainable commercial setting. Teak has traditionally been known to be high end when created in garden furniture and along with this the price has traditionally been very high. Once integrated into furniture, it will last for generations if properly maintained. In this sense, you can rationalize paying a little more for teak furniture if you know that replacement costs will be minimal.
The picture is getting clearer… But wait!
Bathrooms provide a small degree of privacy and peace in a hectic life. Many cherish the few moments spent in it, taking a relaxing bath, collecting thoughts, and preparing for the start or end of each day. But when you take a closer look at this shelter from the outside world, there are two key points of waste that, when multiplied by the frequency and number of people using this room in every home in the world, that’s potentially a huge problem.
The first is water, specifically hot water. For most of us, hot water is found in a tank in our basement that occasionally uses gas or electricity to keep the internal temperature of the water at a set level of heat. Many people who lead a luxury lifestyle enjoy things “à la carte.” They like television “à la carte”, good food “à la carte” and hot water “à la carte”. On-demand water heaters have largely proliferated in other areas of the world, but they are just starting to become popular in North America. Small devices are installed close to where hot water is needed, and as hot water is called for, the device instantly heats the water to the desired temperature. This eliminates the wasted energy of maintaining a hot water tank when it is not being used.
The second area of waste is paper, most of which goes down the toilet… literally. Toilet paper is the norm for keeping us clean, however there is a large expense associated with purchasing it, as well as addressing the environmental impact of this volume of organic waste. The solution to this problem dates back to the 17th century with the creation of the bidet. Popularized in the early 1900s with the proliferation of modern plumbing, the bidet was not only the epitome of upper-class and elite living back then, but has also experienced a resurgence in this modern age. Although most commonly seen in Europe, the bidet’s health benefits and smaller environmental footprint have attracted the wealthy. A bidet uses a gentle spray of water to wash itself and a dedicated towel is used to dry itself after use, thus eliminating the need for paper products. Installation of this fixture has become a staple in high-end mansions, hotels, and resorts and spas throughout North America, Asia, South America, the Caribbean, and elsewhere. For those of us who do not have the space in the bathroom to install an additional accessory, technology has been created that allows the bidet function to be integrated into the toilet seat. This means that with toilet seat replacement and some very basic plumbing, anyone can have access to the benefits of a bidet in their home at a price that is quite reasonable for the average consumer. This is one more way that luxury seekers are affirming their stewardship of the environment in conscious daily choices that can have the greatest impact on their lives.
What we can take away from our brief look at modern technological advances and the enthusiast options available to those who value luxury in their lives, then, is that more than ever the people who have the means to obtain these products are making environmentally sound choices. . So that begs the question, what about the rest of us? We all choose priorities differently in our lives and that is a right granted to all. Some may prefer to make a statement by choosing to drink an organic or fair trade coffee every morning, while others skate or walk to work to save money and the environment at the same time. Whatever your preference, the choice is yours to do what you want to set your priority. The good news is that all of the technologies and products that I have mentioned in this article, if any have piqued your interest, are becoming more affordable for the regular consumer. With its rise in popularity, the growth of logistics and international trade, the availability of information on the Internet, it is not only possible to find wonderful products that are good for the environment, but now you can get great prices. With this in mind, it’s never been easier to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle and feel even better about helping the environment.