The environment and technology are two forces that seem to be diametrically opposed. It seems that the more technologically advanced we become, the more power we use and the larger our carbon footprint becomes. Is there any way to reverse this trend – while still being able to stay connected to the best technological advances?
Luckily, yes. Thanks to greater and greater interest in the environment, conservation, and global warming, developers and designers are increasingly including in their considerations the impact their products have on the environment. From flash drives made from recycled parts to Energy Star certified appliances, there are a number of tech accessories on the market today that are notable for their reduced impact on the environment. Check out these environmentally-conscious inventions of 2013 to help you reduce your energy usage as you ramp up your tech.
Can Your High-Tech Accessories Help the Environment
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It used to be that the only things that were solar-powered were a few homes covered in photovoltaic panels. Not anymore. Solar panels are now being installed on a wide variety of items, from parking garages to cars to tech gadgets. The best thing about solar energy? Once the equipment is in place, all the energy it collects from the sun is 100% free.
Logitech has recently come out with a wireless solar keyboard. They keyboard can pull a charge even from low indoor lighting, and will stay charged for up to 3 months even in complete darkness.
A concept design for the Sony Eclipse media player uses solar cells on the back of the device to keep it charged, according to IT Business Edge.
Not only can high-tech accessories for your computer and media help the environment – so, too, can accessories for your home have a similar effect on your carbon footprint (as well as your energy budget). The Nest Learning Thermostat, for example, takes the energy-saving properties of a programmable thermostat and kicks it up a notch. Not only can you program the thermostat to turn off when you’re not at home, but the device actually learns your schedule and adjust indoor temperatures accordingly. In addition, you can use an app on your smartphone to control the thermostat from afar. Coming home early? Turn the heat on so your house is warm when you arrive. Staying out late? Keep the temperature down so as to prevent unnecessary energy usage.
The biggest energy drain in your home, after your heating and cooling system, is your electrical system. Notably, your lights. Your first instinct may be to replace high-energy incandescent bulbs with their fluorescent counterparts. According to Energy Star and the EPA, compact fluorescent bulbs can save you $30 per year per bulb in energy costs, and produce 75% less heat than incandescents.
The next generation of energy-efficient lighting is the Lifx Bulb. This fluorescent bulb is controlled via wifi or smartphone app. You can program it to turn on and off at different times (as well as a dizzying array of other features), or use your mobile device to control it from another room.
There are many more avenues by which you can reduce your energy consumption through the thoughtful investigation of environmentally-friendly products. For every program you run through the cloud, for example, you reduce your IT power consumption and energy usage. Look for accessories for your home and office that are programmable, remote-controllable, or solar-powered in order to stay on top of tech trends while reducing your carbon footprint.