Our planet is suffering great damage due to people’s years-long irresponsibility and lack of engagement in preserving nature’s resources. As a result, humanity is now facing climate change, which impacts all spheres of life and makes the future seem uncertain.
Although tech could easily be branded as one of nature’s greatest nemesis due to the amount of resources and energy this industry demands, it is also the one to help encourage change regarding our carbon footprint. VR is one of those innovative technologies that are capable of transforming our approach to consumption, waste, and work practices by enabling the implementation of sustainable practices in a myriad of industries and even our day-to-day habits.
- VR technology allows both regular people and corporations to adopt new approaches to sustainability efforts.
- VR enables remote work, collaboration, and distance learning without physical travel, reducing carbon footprint and conserving resources.
- Virtual attendance at meetings, conferences, and events eliminates the need for travel and energy consumption.
- VR improves research and development (R&D) efficiency, resulting in energy and logistics savings, making the process more sustainable and resource-efficient.
Decreasing the carbon footprint and saving resources
Thanks to VR, people are now able to reduce their emissions through remote professional and educational opportunities.
Through virtual reality, employees can create an efficient and affordable home office setup that has a minimal environmental impact.
This involves using a mixed-reality headset to project work onto multiple virtual monitors, eliminating the need for physical monitors and the energy they require. One of the most popular VR apps for remote work is Horizon Workrooms. In addition, VR can be used to reduce the need for travel, further decreasing emissions. This can be done by enabling users to virtually attend meetings, conferences, and other events without having to leave their homes.
VR can also help with energy conservation by allowing employees to adjust the lighting and temperature of their home office to the optimal level.
With the Quest Pro and Pico 4 Enterprise headsets, users can interact in a more lifelike way and conduct virtual meetings without having to travel places. This eliminates the need to heat or light up a physical venue and cuts down on the amount of energy and resources used throughout the meeting.
Moreover, the event space can be created and resized in VR as needed, so there’s no need to physically gather in one place. Plus, realistic avatars add an extra layer of immersion, creating the feeling of being in the same room even when you’re miles away.
By using virtual reality technologies, learners can attend classes from anywhere, eliminating the need for physical travel to school or other educational institutions. This is a great way to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption, as well as save money.
Additionally, virtual classrooms provide a more engaging and interactive experience that helps keep learners motivated and engaged in their studies. Through virtual reality, students can get the same educational experience as if they were attending in person, without the need to use up resources or leave their homes.
VR improves R&D
You can use VR to improve R&D efficiency and reduce resource consumption. Bugatti, for instance, has cut a year off its development time and saved hundreds of thousands of euros by using VR in its design process.
With virtual simulations, businesses can model projects before they’re built in the real world, resulting in significant energy and logistics savings. Additionally, virtual prototypes can be accessed and worked on collaboratively in real time, so there’s no need to ship materials and equipment. This also reduces time-to-market and eliminates costly trips for collaboration.
The so-called “Digital twins” could also be connected directly to a machine in real time, allowing remote inspections that don’t require a physical presence.
Education on Climate change through VR experiences
By leveraging the increasingly accessible virtual reality technology, people can now take a firsthand look at the damaging effects of climate change in a way that can dramatically increase their understanding of the issue.
Stanford University’s Ocean Acidification Experience gives users a virtual dive into the consequences of climate change on the ocean and its inhabitants. This VR-based climate education project has been proven to motivate people to take positive environmental action and has even helped them increase their environmental awareness test scores by over 100%.
Additionally, there are VR movies and videos like ‘This is Climate Change’, which is a four-part VR docuseries that educates viewers on global warming.
The WWF also uses VR glasses to take users to Antarctica and show the impact of climate change on wildlife.
Companies using VR to promote sustainability
Even worldwide corporations have started to implement VR and AR tech to encourage their customers to adopt eco-friendly practices and showcase their own efforts in working sustainably.
In 2018, Chiquita launched their ‘Behind the Blue Sticker’ campaign, distributing 200 million stickers with a code to access an AR experience.
Through this, shoppers could virtually follow a banana from farm to shelf and meet the Latin American farmers behind Chiquita’s product. This campaign highlighted the company’s commitment to eco-friendly supply chains and social sustainability.
In 2016, Burger King launched an augmented reality game called ‘Defend The King’ in South Africa. Customers had to download the app and scan a game marker in the restaurant to access the game. This experience reduced the need for physical toys, which would have otherwise ended up in landfills, incinerators, or oceans.
IKEA has enabled their customers to use VR technology as a way to visualize how furniture would look in their homes before buying it, thus reducing product returns and exchanges.
Such services allow customers to have a realistic view of the product and a chance to make an informed decision. This helps foster a sustainable lifestyle by allowing customers to purchase only what they need.
Shell is using VR/AR to inspect and service oil rigs. This proactive approach allows for the early identification of any potential issues, drastically reducing the chances of environmental accidents or spills.
VR also allows workers to service rigs without having to be physically present, saving time and money while still keeping safety standards high.
VR companies and sustainable practices
Many companies developing and marketing VR headsets have started adopting sustainable practices in their work, too.
PlayStation is an example of this, as it’s part of the UN’s Playing for the Planet Alliance and the Games Console Voluntary Agreement. They’re also aiming to have a zero environmental footprint by 2050.
Other companies, such as Meta, are launching refurbished product programs and using VR for ocean conservation.
To stay up to date with these initiatives, follow their social media accounts and sign up for newsletters.
As we can see, VR is a powerful tool that can help us achieve sustainability goals. It can reduce the carbon footprint, save resources, and educate people on climate change.
Companies are already using VR to promote sustainable practices, and if we all do our part, we can make a difference. That’s why saving our planet is a collaborative act of representatives of humanity, and if VR is capable of helping improve the unpleasant future of climate destruction at least a little, we should take advantage of it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Types of Virtual Reality Experiences Are Available to Learn About Climate Change?
There are educational 3D animations and simulations of destinations that are most impacted by climate change.
How Do Companies Use Virtual Reality to Promote Sustainability?
Companies use virtual reality to promote sustainability by creating immersive experiences that let users explore the effects of climate change and learn about their own green initiatives.
What Are the Advantages of Using Virtual Reality for Research and Development?
Virtual Reality has the potential to significantly reduce the resources and costs required for product development, production, and training while promoting sustainable development.
What Types of Virtual Reality Companies Are Actively Engaging in Sustainable Practices?
Meta and PlayStation are among the most popular companies involved in VR development, which aim to work carbon-free.
How Does Virtual Reality Technology Reduce the Carbon Footprint?
By replacing the constant need for physical travel with immersive experiences, VR can help us save on carbon emissions without sacrificing the joys of exploration.