Global Stories

Home: Where the Heart Is

It was a bold statement at the World Economic Forum, that solar electric in many countries is now cheaper, or on a par with, more traditional forms of electrical grid production. The possibility and promise of this development is passive solar and photovoltaic electrical production on every rooftop and the spectre of local energy independence. Tesla’s Powerwall battery system may be an important part of this.

The Gallup Organization reports that in the US 37% of employees (those not self-employed) in 2016 worked wholly or in part from home. In Canada, while this number was less at about 25%, it is similarly growing at a very rapid rate. The quality of available online services and applications is making it easier for people to be more productive in their jobs and more present in their home life both.

3D printers are increasingly useful in industrial applications but they are also strengthening the likelihood of a return to local and niche manufacturing, possibly even at the householder level. This would support people as entrepreneurs manufacturing products for sale as well as allowing them to be more efficient consumers. Printed foods, living tissue, cars, houses, clothes, appliances can all be created locally now with 3D printers and similar machines.

Home hydroponic products from companies like IKEA and Urban Cultivator and soon Hyundai could make it easy to produce significant amounts of fresh and nutritious fruit and vegetables at home in apartments, condos and small houses where gardens don’t exist.

Anyone noticing a possible trend? How would our family life, pattern of home ownership, and politics evolve if more fundamental operations were based at home?