There were plenty of green gadgets at the just-finished Consumer Electronics Show, but the techy toys are only one part of a larger — and greener — picture. During the show’s last day, Inhabitat favorite Yves Behar stopped by the General Electric booth to talk about the high quality of design he saw and note the abundance of “sustainability thinking.”

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Behar, who designed GE’s new EV charger WattStation (which charges the Chevy Volt), told Chief Marketing Officer Beth Comstock, “A few years ago, there was very little design at the Consumer Electronics Show. For consumer product producers and manufacturers, design was sort of an afterthought — sort of something on the sidelines.” He added that products are getting lighter and smaller, which in turn, reduces their carbon footprint.

“It’s fascinating. To me, we are entering the golden age of design work,” said Behar. “For so long, marketing is what drove all the stories, but now design drives the stories. It makes it very relatable.”

Comstock said GE’s focus in 2011 will be on eco-homes and and energy efficient products. In regards to the WattStation, Behar’s main idea behind the design was to make the product easy to use and comfortable for consumers — something he saw many designers thinking about.

“We’re really moving from a lot of talk about new technologies, about energy reduction, about sustainability, to real solutions,” said Behar. “People have been looking forward to that, but […] now you can really put your arms around it.”

+ General Electric

+ Yves Behar