By Jimmy Rogers
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
IKEA, the company that can fit almost anything into a flat box for easy pick-up, has decided to go green in a big way. They plan to put $77 million into their GreenTech fund – dedicated to producing “solar panels, efficiency meters, and energy efficient lighting.” While IKEA has always had a fairly eco-friendly attitude, this is a big step for the company. Their ability to produce high quality, modular products for low prices may be the winning combination for solar power.
Imagine, if you will, a possible “future IKEA.” In any section of the store that includes electronics, there will be a bin full of solar cells. A lamp could be charged up during the day by a panel with suction cups for a window. They could even sell home kits for roof-mounting solar cells to offset some of your normal electricity needs.
IKEA always buys in bulk so the cost of these components might be comparable to the cost of pulling the same energy from the grid. The benefit to you is that it’s better for the environment (and thus your peace of mind) and it might eventually pay for itself in power savings.
Returning from our wild fantasy, and remembering that that’s what it is, a wild fantasy, let’s look at the real picture. While IKEA may be the big, friendly, DIY store, it will only do things that turn a profit. That’s the point of GreenTech, which was founded at the end of last year. Its mission is to invest in 10 start-ups working on new green technologies and business strategies. Hopefully that investment will turn into IKEA controlled innovations, which will, in turn, make their way into your modern, utilitarian living room.