As in tree-hugging, green-Juicing and shorter-showers green?
is this even necessary? After all, it's not like today's Hi-Fi uses all that much energy...
Why should Hi-Fi now also have to worry about being green?
Because being green is a fact of life today. Now I fully realize that most of today's Hi-Fi is already efficient and its carbon footprint is minuscule compared to the energy, war, and transportation industries. However, being green is about more than that. It is a way of life. Being green in all aspects of life, including the Hi-Fi grear they purchase, makes people more likely to be green when making choices on the big polluters as well. The fact is being green is no longer just an option or choice, it is the expectation of tomorrow's generation of consumers.
Being green in Hi-Fi is also not just about energy consumption. it touches many other aspects of our lives: heavy amps are more polluting to transport, heavy metals in the equipment pollutes our groundwater which makes our children sick, and large speakers require bigger rooms in bigger houses that require more heating and cooling. To me, being green Hi-Fi is about adopting a comprehensive approach to manufacturing and purchasing:
- It has to run cooler
- It has to be more efficient
- It has to be smaller
- It has to be simpler
- It has to be smarter
- It has to integrate with other technologies in the home
- It has to be sensible
By the way, notice how I did not mention cost? That is because being green is not about bringing down the cost to the point of competing with non-green products. That is simply not possible and should not be a goal. Because those products are making a conscious choice to not be green, they exist in a whole different market space. This industry needs to make this clear to the customers. Hi-Fi should not be competing with that segment of the market - they can learn from it, but not copy it.
One final point is that these are all engineering & design recommendations. It is my firm belief that working to meet these will actually give this industry a new shot in the arm by encouraging innovation, scientific research, and sensible competition. As an example, when I look at the high number of inefficient loudspeakers available, especially at the lower price points (see Audio Advisor, for a case-in-point), it tells me that there is still tremendous potential for better products to emerge.
This website is about demonstrating that common sense manufacturing is the way forward and that this is what will bring new customers, yes, even millennials, to Hi-Fi. While this path will still have downturns, like the slowing headphone and turntable product lines, there is ample room for existing product lines to improve and for new product lines to appear.
So despite the current trend away from being green, I am convinced that this is reaching a plateau and will soon return to sensible policy. Wiser minds will prevail because the impact of our neglect is starting to affect everyone more and more every day. Those me-too millennials may be fickle, but they will be running things soon enough and we will be better off trying to understand why they are insisting on greener products, even in the Hi-Fi that they will be buying.