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Green Living: A Growing Trend
From recycling old gadgets to buying smarter home appliances, in 2013 we will continue to be surrounded by the development of eco-friendly technology. This article will look at three eco-friendly trends which will be continuing in the New Year. From revolutionizing household energy consumption to providing individuals with the tools to reduce their own carbon footprint, these gadgets and apps will hopefully bring with them a new awareness of environmental issues.
Faulty or non-energy optimized home appliances are one of the most wasteful energy products used by people on a daily basis. From a refrigerator on the wrong setting to a heater on when nobody is home, home appliances can drain our wallets and the earth’s resources simultaneously. Home appliance companies are working to produce refrigerators, washers, dryers and ovens that will earn a higher energy efficiency rating without sacrificing design or performance.
One device which wastes energy in many homes on a daily basis is the thermostat. Of course, your thermostat raises the temperature of your home to a setting you have chosen – but what if you leave your home without adjusting the switch? One of the recent releases of 2012 which is destined to become a hit in 2013 in is the Nest thermostat. This intelligent device learns the daily habits of those who live in the house, such as when users leave for the day and when they head off to bed, and adjusts household temperature accordingly. When there is no one in the house, the Nest thermostat automatically turns off the heating and cooling to preserve energy. Manufacturers estimate that he typical household will see a savings of $500 in energy savings.
An increase in E-cycling
According to the EPA, only 20 percent of electronics are recycled, while the majority of electronics are disposed on, primarily in landfills. This is bound to change as the increasing popularity of mobile computing units, particularly laptops and tablets, is leading manufacturers to rethink. Many electronics companies, including Apple, are starting e-cycle initiatives which will continue into 2013 in order to reuse and refurbish used laptops, smartphones and tablets for other purposes. For instance, Lenovo offers environmentally safe asset recovery services (ARS) and recycling programs to businesses, where old or used laptops, desktops and tablets can be reused or disposed of safely. This initiative will decrease the number of laptops dumped illegally, while refurbishing those that can be reused, and carefully disposing of those that cannot.
Throughout 2013 we should expect to see the continued increase of smartphone apps. But it is not only gaming and communication apps that are popular, but also apps that can help us live our personal and professional lives in a greener way. This section will discuss some of the apps that are available for use now so you can jumpstart your eco-friendly year.
For your home, the iViro app can run a specialized energy analysis of your home’s heat, cooling, water and electricity consumption along with costs and co2 emission estimates. It also provides ideas on energy-saving alternatives to your current lifestyle.
The GoodGuide app provides ratings on the environmental performance of products and companies to allow consumers to choose companies who are most environmentally friendly. It includes 170,000 goods from food, personal care and household products. There is also a barcode-scanning feature for food so you can get nutritional information.
For an informative experience, download ecoFootprint, an app that will help you calculate your personal ecological footprint including your daily energy consumption and carbon emissions from travel. There is also an educational section about how to improve your lifestyle to reduce your carbon footprint.
Changes in the home and in personal lifestyle are key to tackling issues of environmental safety and climate change. These three trends above demonstrate small steps in the right direction to a healthier and greener world.