As leading green home builders in NZ, here at Craft Homes we pay close attention to how people are reacting to new eco-friendly initiatives, especially when the government is involved. Over the past few years, several governments around the world have begun taking small steps toward combating climate change by educating the public, but it’s uncommon for government organisations to push for wide-spread systemic change, which is much closer to what’s needed.
Here in New Zealand, however, the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA) has rolled out a new program called ‘Gen Less’, represented in its advertising with the ‘<’ symbol. In case you missed it, it made a huge debut during the opening for the Rugby World Cup match between NZ and South Africa.
The core concept of Gen Less is to "embrace a lifestyle that uses less energy, to help halt climate change."
The EECA has run initiatives like this before. In particular, the Energywise program comes to mind, which was aimed at educating the public on how to save money by using lower-energy LED lightbulbs and knuckling down on better insulation. This time around, with Gen Less, the EECA has a wider scope, and seems to be building a movement that’s more open-ended and more concerned with grassroots action and organisation.
To find out more about the EECA-backed Gen Less movement, and how it relates to the Craft Homes ethos, keep reading.
What is Gen Less aiming to achieve?
As a movement created by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, it’s worth noting that Gen Less doesn’t follow the same pattern as their previous ideas. Instead of focusing on simple things, like changing lightbulbs, it’s more ambitious.
“We set out to make action on climate change something people will want to do, not just be obliged to do,” says communications and engagement manager of EECA, Jane O'Loughlin. “Gen Less is a challenge to New Zealanders to scrutinise our decisions as individuals, and as a society, to rethink our collective approach to energy—from the smaller steps in our daily lives, to the larger systemic shifts we need to make together.”
While it’s good to curb certain parts of consumer culture, there are other benefits to this approach. It could eventually lead to the wider public seeing the production of products itself in a new light. After all, outdated methods of production are a much bigger threat to the climate than individual consumption, even though both are important to examine.
Who can get involved?
Everyone can be a part of the movement, and the official website has options for signing up as either a business or an individual.
Despite the name, Gen Less is not meant to be about a specific age group, but rather about a lifestyle change across the whole population. EECA has drawn comparisons between this approach and other long-term behavioural change programs introduced by the government, such as raising public awareness for wearing seat belts, or advertising campaigns against drunk driving.
Lot of major companies are already involved, including Ecostore, NZ Post, Westpac, Lewis Road Creamery and Countdown. WWF and the Jane Goodall Institute NZ—both non-profit groups—are also supporting the movement.
What does it involve?
Here’s where we get into the details. What does it involve? Well, anything people want, according to them. Gen Less is about making personal pledges, and deciding how best to change your lifestyle for the better. That said, they do have some starting points listed on their site. Let’s take a look at some of the steps they suggest.
The Gen Less website offers a few suggestions for commuting without a car, such as walking, biking, taking public transport or scootering with your kids to school and back. They also encourage the use of all public transit, but suggest getting an EV or hybrid if you can’t go without a car completely.
Travel is also a big part of running a business, and Gen Less suggests that companies could put incentives in place for employees who are using public transport to get to and from work.
Buy things that last
This is a great suggestion. By investing in things that will last, you’re reducing the waste created by replacing goods often. It also saves you money in the long run. Even though better quality goods may cost more upfront, relying on cheap products will cost you more overall if you need to keep replacing them over and over.
Gen Less is still pushing the EECA priorities of LED lightbulbs and good insulation, and while these are both great ideas—especially regarding insulation—we feel like the movement could benefit from aiming higher, and we think we’ve got some insight. Renovating your home to make it more energy-efficient is a great idea. However, in keeping with the Gen Less motto of ‘less is more’, we think that new builds are a great opportunity to make sure you’re not costing the earth.
Just like buying things that will last a long time, new home building projects are an important chance to create something that will help protect you and your family for years to come. Sustainable home building incorporates innovative techniques and technologies to make not just the home itself environmentally friendly, but the process that creates it too.
Building a new home from scratch can be a huge drain on energy and resources, and can produce a lot of waste material. However, that isn’t the case when you engage a group of eco home builders like Craft Homes.
Make your home sustainable
Gen Less is paving the way for a team like ours that wants to help you build your dream home in smart, new ways, that won’t cost the earth. If you’re looking into building a home, but you want it to be environmentally friendly, talk to the team here at Craft Homes today.
Toby and Cat Tilsley