Sustainability: How Does Your Home Technology Stack Up?

Sustainability: How Does Your Home Technology Stack Up?

HTA Resource Content

There’s no question that today’s consumer wants to purchase sustainable products from environmentally conscious companies. According to a 2018 Nielsen study, 81% of global respondents felt strongly that companies should help improve the environment, with 79% of Gen Xers and 85% of Millennials indicating that it was “extremely” or “very important” for companies to act. 

As customer choice becomes more heavily rooted in social responsibility, no area is left unaffected, including home technology. Homeowners want brands they can believe in, which means that anyone specifying or suggesting home technology equipment–from architects to designers to professional home technology integrators—will need to consider a brand’s values when determining the home’s design requirements.

Sonos—the incredibly popular company that reinvented the way we experience audio in the home with networkable compact wireless speaker systems—is one of these companies. It recently introduced its first Climate Action Plan as the foundation of its commitment to a more sustainable future. Details of the plan were released as part of Sonos’ Listen Better Sustainability Report, outlining goals like carbon neutrality by 2030 and net zero by 2040. The report also outlined a more immediate goal of improving energy efficiency—which is critical given that more than three-quarters of Sonos’ carbon emissions can be attributed to the energy consumed during each product’s lifecycle.

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What’s in Your Entertainment Center? 

Think about the products you have in your home. Anything plugged into the wall is drawing power and ultimately affecting the environment. How do you cut down on this in your own home technology system? Pay attention to the products you are buying or that your home technology professional is specifying. Any good technology integrator should be able to tell you about the products he or she is sourcing. Sonos makes it much easier to be sustainable in the audio category because it believes a premium listening experience can be consistent with environmental consciousness. Its Product Sustainability Program drives down the carbon footprint and overall environmental impact of its products.     

“We want to help our customers make responsible choices, so we’ll be able to present them with more options about energy use, like shutting down parts of their system while other parts are active, or being more intentional with speakers using voice assistants,” says Deji Olukotun, Sonos Director of Policy and Corporate Social Responsibility.    

For example, Sonos is putting a focus on idle and sleep states. It introduced sleep mode with the new Roam portable speaker, helping make it Sonos’ most energy-efficient speaker. By 2023, all new Sonos products will include sleep mode. The company aspires to reduce idle power consumption to less than 2 watts for its entire portfolio.

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Aside from energy efficiency, there is also the factor of electronic waste to be considered. How long will the products in your, or your client’s, systems last before they are sent to the landfill? Sonos uses quality components and materials to make products robust and durable so they stay in use longer. Sonos’ Design for Disassembly process, which will be incorporated into all new speakers and components, starting in 2023, builds in features – such as fasteners instead of adhesives – that make it easier to repair, refurbish and recycle its wares. By the end of 2023, 100% of new Sonos products will begin using post-consumer recycled plastic in place of virgin plastics, and will also be 100% halogen-free. In addition to physical longevity, Sonos keeps product software updated with bug fixes and security patches many years after the product is no longer made.

Of course, sustainability initiatives must include consideration for packaging as well. By 2025, Sonos packaging will be made with 100% responsibly sourced paper, including paper that is either PCR (post-consumer recycled), FSC-certified, or made from plant-based fibers as Sonos continues to reduce plastics from their packaging entirely.     

Beyond Products to Better Business

While carefully considering the way products are designed and shipped is a great first step to feeling good about your purchase, sustainability goes beyond the product to the way a company conducts business. Sonos partnered with VitalMetrics to map the carbon footprint of the company's value chain - from sourcing materials and packaging to product use and end-of-life. Doing the challenging work of determining a company’s carbon footprint and reducing and offsetting it through various means is the name of the game.                         
With a primary focus on product and operational carbon reductions, supported by high-quality, verified offsets, Sonos will meet its goals through habitat regeneration and conservation, for example. Their first partner in helping to offset their emissions is SeaTrees by Sustainable Surf, focusing on a marine ecosystem project in the Southern Cardamom Watershed in Cambodia. This work includes collaborating with major suppliers to improve their respective climate footprints and exploring the localization of repairs and refurbishment where possible.      

“This is a collective action opportunity—particularly for climate change, but also in terms of broader sustainability—in that the more companies that get involved, the easier it becomes,” said Deji Olukotun. “At Sonos I think we can be proud to recognize that people really care, that there’s been a big cultural shift, and that we’re all committed to this journey.” 

Learn more about Sonos' philosophy on the importance of audio in emotionally connecting to your home. visitto learn more about Sonos’ philosophy on how important audio is to connect emotionally to your home. Find a home technology professional in your area