What is environmental tech?

Environmental tech, short for environmental technology and also called envirotech, refers to specific technologies that are used to benefit the natural environment and diminish the impact of human involvement. For Business Leader’s sustainability month, we’ve covered everything you need to know about it.

What are some examples of environmental technology?

Environmental tech is a broad term referring to electronic devices that utilise environmental science, green chemistry, environmental monitoring and technologies that generate renewable energy. As such, there are a huge range of examples that fall into this category, including:

  • Photovoltaic systems (solar panels)
  • Wind turbines
  • Hydroelectricity
  • Water purification machines
  • Composting toilets
  • Carbon-scrubbing filters
  • Electric vehicles
  • Biofiltration
  • Air purifiers

However, this list is far from extensive and there are many others.

Why is environmental technology important?

Whatever form green technology takes, its purpose is to alleviate the strain being put on the environment. So, utilising them allows us to live more sustainably.

With the recent IPCC report highlighting the urgent need for climate action, some might even go as far to say that utilisation of environmental technologies is integral to combatting global warming in the years ahead.

Are there any downsides of green technology?

Whilst envirotech has plenty of upsides where the environment is concerned, it’s important to recognise that there are potential drawbacks when utilising them, particularly on a large scale.

For example, even though it’s common practice for electric and gas companies to provide a renewable energy option, some companies may go out of business if forced to shift completely to renewable energy.

If companies go out of business, this leads to job losses, which has a detrimental knock-on effect to the economy. The costs for environmental technologies can also be high, so many people cannot afford them.

On the flip side, you could also make the argument that producing sustainable technologies in larger quantities will drive prices down and create jobs, so it depends on which way you look at it ultimately.

How much environmental tech is currently used in the UK?

In 2020, renewable electricity generation, which came from wind, sunlight, water and wood, outperformed fossil fuels for the first time ever, generating 43% of the UK’s electricity compared to 38.5% generated by fossil fuels.

Over 200,000 pure electric vehicles are also set to be on the UK roads in 2021, whilst the air purifier market was expected to be worth $636m in 2020.

With Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan for a ‘green industrial revolution’, which includes a ‘Hydrogen Economy’, it seems only a matter of time until environmental technologies are even more commonplace throughout the UK too.