As lighting is getting more energy efficient and the cost of new lighting technology is dropping, light is getting bluer. This is often generally not a good thing, for many reasons. But the most important is that (IMHO) we may deeply hardwired for warmer light at night, and the juggernaut of blue light technology seems to be happening in total ignorance of and opposition to our basic physiology.
Ten years ago I contributed to a book on customer service: Customer Service Delivery- Research and Best Practices, in which I decried the increasing tidal wave of spam and vanishing privacy that was hitting us then as a result of emerging “marketing automation.” Today I’m unhappy to report that the situation is no better, in fact it’s much worse. While IT and automation makes transactions easier and “frictionless,” companies in general have used it to cut costs, de-personalize experience, and relentlessly overload us with a massive invasive, irritating, at times simply immoral tsunami of global spam that shows few signs of slowing down.
We hear a lot lately about Net Zero buildings that produce as much energy as they consume, and as we extend this idea to cities, energy efficiency will continue to be a crucial part of our future. NonZero refers to the human part of the equation: social arrangements, especially cities, where a nonzero sum (or win-win) game is possible, where cooperation, exchange, innovation, trade, environmental, balance and sustainable growth are facilitated and accelerated.
On balance, the green building movement and energy efficiency programs in the U.S. in have been successful over the last decade or so. Sustainable design practitioners often forget important non-energy benefits, but these benefits are crucial to improving efficiency and attacking climate change. Now we have the technical tools to make the process of integrated design much more deliberate, but the hard part is mustering the social and political will to do so.