Want a better business climate? Start with air conditioning - Fast Company

Summary

We are past the moment when climate change was a looming future problem; we are already living with the consequences in the form of weather events and natural disasters. The most innovative companies in the world are putting their minds and resources to work on climate change initiatives. The future of our planet depends on making these changes. At the same time, market demands are opening up and we need scalable businesses that can address these new challenges while improving people’s lives.

We are past the moment when climate change was a looming future problem; we are already living with the consequences in the form of weather events and natural disasters. The most innovative companies in the world are putting their minds and resources to work on climate change initiatives. The future of our planet depends on making these changes. At the same time, market demands are opening up and we need scalable businesses that can address these new challenges while improving people’s lives.

I believe the path to decarbonization while living better lives is full electrification. Switching home heating appliances—stoves, water heaters, and space heaters—to electric devices like heat pumps and induction stoves can help. Many governments are leading the way by banning natural gas altogether. While a new Tesla may be sexy, I don’t think we can stop there—we also need to fully electrify our buildings. INDUSTRY GRIDLOCK IS RIPE FOR DISRUPTION The existing HVAC industry is primarily driven by a handful of powerful companies with few motivations to change. While European manufacturers are switching to far more climate-friendly refrigerants, U.S. standards have been slow to change. In fact, investigative reports suggest that standards are often created to protect existing chemical industries instead of the planet.

HOW LEADERS CAN TAKE ACTION Carbon reduction is good business. We’ve already discussed the demand for better AC. If you’re a founder looking at the next industry to tackle, consider the fact that venture capitalists are on track to sink $6.4 trillion into climate tech by 2023. These funds can help you enter into a field buoyed by the fact that leaders in the U.S. and Europe have publicly pledged to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. You don’t have to be a thermal scientist to tackle the AC challenge. Software is needed to run systems more efficiently, and better insulation can reduce the need for toxic refrigerants to cool homes and buildings. Startups focusing on better refrigerants and more efficient circulation systems can help drive the next generation of cool buildings.

In the long-term, I believe creating a better environment in which to live is the best way to create the best environment for doing business. If even a portion of our businesses are dedicated to reducing carbon in our own operations, we are contributing to this change. Vince Romanin is the CEO of Gradient Comfort, maker of a modern and energy-efficient window AC that cools, heats, and never blocks the view.

Want a better business climate? Start with air conditioning - Fast Company
Photo Credit: Fast Company

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