I have written about tech a few times on the blog, but TBH I’m more of an analog girl. I like my dumb watch, my grandma pedometer, and my physical planner. You will have to FIGHT ME to switch over to a digital calendar. I don’t trust them. The only thing I trust is me and my fountain pen.
Speaking of planners and fountain pens, be sure to check out my guide to eco-friendly office supplies!
At the same time, I do love getting to stream TV shows, music, and dimming/changing the colors of my LED lights. I think tech is amazing although it can be a bit problematic from an environmental point of view.
Hellooo, super, energy-sucking servers…. You can learn more in my blog post, How Eco-Friendly is Technology.
Tech is awesome and it certainly isn’t going away.
Instead, it’s about finding ways to make it more eco-friendly like sinking servers in the ocean, and using tech to help us live our BEST eco-friendly lifestyles.
I have rounded up several gadgets that can help you slash your carbon footprint!
Making your home eco-friendly/energy efficient is a great way to have a positive impact on the environment. When we think big picture stuff, beyond just our own personal shopping habits, it’s time to look at your commute, your home, and what’s going on with your money in the bank.
1. temperature regulation:
There’s no need to waste energy heating up and cooling down your home if you’re not even going to be there. When its warm wear a tank top and open the window, when it’s cold throw on a blanket. There’s no need to hit the thermostat for every small fluctuation in temperature.
For the Winter: 65° F when not home and 68° F when home
For the Summer: 80° F when not home and 77° F when home
Programmable thermostats like Nest are all the rage these days. Nest knows when you’re home and when you’re not. It learns your habits, knows the weather, and will help maintain a schedule to keep you comfy, save on those energy bills, and give the environment a big high five.
2. kill switch:
Phantom electricity is scary. “Nationally, phantom power accounts for more than 100 billion kWh and more than $10 billion in energy costs each year.” (source)
This is the energy that’s being sucked from devices plugged in but not in use so if your laptop charger, phone charger, kitchen aid mixer, or curling iron are plugged into the socket but not in use, it’s still sucking power from the grid.
Of course, some things need to stay plugged in like your fridge, but most things you should unplug. However, if you’ve got a plug that’s hard to reach or it’s just a pain to plug and unplug like a desktop computer or toaster oven, why not try a smart power strip?
A smart power strip hooks up with your phone so you can kill phantom electricity from afar. With the device you can check the total power consumption of each device by day, month, year and see which appliances are drawing the most amount of phantom power, and then turn them off or put them on a timer.
3. analyze your power:
Are you ready to live your most streamlined, energy-efficient life? Good, cause I’ve got some tech for that. If The WeMo Insight adapter works similarly, to the smart power strip. Its main function is to analyze and track one devices energy usage.
This will be really helpful for figuring out which appliances or gadgets are draining your energy and bank account. For instance, if you have a fridge from the 70s, you might be spending an extra $70 in electricity alone! That’s not good for your wallet or for the environment.
Are you ready for the big leagues? Forget single plug analysis, why not analyze your home’s whole grid? With Sense Energy Monitor you can do that. Sense is on the pricier side, and it needs to be installed by an electrician, but it will help you monitor everything in real time. The best part, at least for me, is knowing that I didn’t actually leave the stove on…. my greatest fear and largest source of anxiety when I leave the home.
Have I had to come home from events and work because an overwhelming fear of “I LEFT MY STOVE ON,” yes, yes I have… on more than one occasion. With sense, I can check an app on my phone and know, everything is OK.
Your home might not be the only place you want to streamline for efficiency, what about your car? With Automatic Car Assistant, you plug it into your On Board Diagnostics (OBD) port. It can help track when things go wrong in the car like, “Why is my check engine light on?” And it will help you improve your driving habits through a series of beeps and app alerts.
When you’re using too much gas, accelerate too quickly, or slam on the brakes Automatic will let you know. This will extend the life of your vehicle - YAY less wear and tear! Will cut down on emissions - YAY the environment! And, will save you money, what’s not to love?
4. powered up:
Why suck energy from the grid at all? Why not go solar? You may not be able to install solar panels right now, but that doesn’t mean your devices couldn’t use a little sun bathe.
Check out this portable solar panel that can charge your phone and tablet. It’s great for hiking, outdoor, adventures, or just enjoying a nice roof top lunch during the workday.
RELATED: How to Pack a Zero Waste Lunch
As someone who’s on the go and has to use my phone at a lot of events and conferences, this is a nice alternative to traditional battery packs - just make sure that the solar panels are fully charged when using! If your phone has more energy than your panels, your panels will suck the energy out of your phone… not what you want!
5. light it up:
Talkin’ all about those light bulbs baby! I’m a big fan of LED light bulbs, not only are they much better for the environment - hello, energy saving - they’re also great for your wallet.
Just take a look at this chart from USA Today. You can clearly see how much LED bulbs will save you. Now, the number one complaint I hear is, “I don’t like the bright, bluish light these bulbs cast!” And, I feel that. I don’t like bright, bluish light either.
So, I got the Phillips Hue Bulbs with a range over 16 million colors. I can control these bulbs with an app, put them on timers, dim them, and feel like a god. Mostly because I say, “Hey Google, LET THEIR BE LIGHT!”
Feel like you don’t want to make investments in eco-friendly, energy saving tech because you’re renting? Well, fear no more. I’m a fellow renter, and I actually replace all of my light bulbs when I come into a rental, and then swap them all out when I leave. I do this for my shower head too!
You can read more about how I make my rental more eco-friendly.
6. listen responsibly:
I know that I’m 1,000 years late to the audio book game, but OMG I love audio books. I still haven’t gotten into the podcast scene too much, if you have favorites let me know in the comments down below.
Instead of streaming music when I go on a jog or nice long walk with the pup, (cute dog photos and tips for raising an eco-friendly pet) I’m crushing some audio books.
I’m in the market for some new headphones. I’m currently using the iphone ear buds that came with my iPhone 4 purchase in 2010. Someone actually complimented me on my how well I took care of my old ear buds…. #10yrs #together4eva
But, I’m in the market for some new headphones. Some nice cushy ones perfect for 5-10 mile treks.
I have a House of Marley speaker and I’m a huge fan of the company. They are one of the few tech companies, that are really working to make their electronics ethical and sustainable. They use mindfully sourced materials including bamboo, FSC™ certified wood, recycled aluminum, plastic and fabrics.
please listen responsibly:
7. accessorize ethically:
When it comes to our phones, laptops, and tablets, I’m a big believer in cases! I know some people prefer to go the risky naked route, but I will drop my phone… it’s inevitable. And, I’d prefer for my $1,000 investment to last AS LONG AS POSSIBLE.
This is a girl with earbuds from 10 years ago. I’m not zero waste because I love the environment, (I do love the environment) I’m zero waste cause I’m cheap frugal.
The case is COMPOSTABLE! How cool is that, it’s made up with flax shive a waste by-product of the flax industry and it’s super shock absorbent which is a must for me because I drop my phone all of the the time…
One of my favorite thing about Pela is that they take full ownership over the lifespan of their product. If you can’t compost it for any reason you can send it back and they’ll take care of it for you. Plus, with each purchase they donate to environmental organizations.
check out pela case <—————- Get 20% off with the code ‘GZW20’