Green Tech: Save the earth the simple Way

Make "reduce, reuse, recycle" a breeze with new gadgets and technology tips for your house, your gear, and the others you will ever have.

Presented by PCWorld

Becoming enviromentally friendly is in, but how easy could it be to accomplish? Many small changes that you may make in your everyday life will soon add up to a big effect on the environment–and you don’t need to buy a Toyota Prius to perform them. Oftentimes, it’s a matter to getting a gadget to accomplish the hard work for you personally. Here are ten actions you can take with technology to greatly help save the earth.

Reduce

Before you keep an eye on how successful you are in reducing your effect on the environment, you have to know what your impact is. A slew of gadgets, gizmos, and software packages will get you started.

It is possible to modify your complete house to monitor its energy use. Agilewaves Resource Monitor links a flat-panel touchscreen together with your home’s power, water, gas, and temperature systems. The panel enables you to access real-time usage data (and time-lapse data) by floor, room, individual appliance, or specific utility. Also you can access the web with it, of course.

Unless you have some money to drop on digitizing your home, look at a simpler alternative. You can plug P3 International’s Kill A Watt ($40) into any electrical outlet and plug the appliance you intend to measure into Kill-A-Watt. These devices measures kilowatt-hours of energy and lets you know how much the applying costs to perform.

Of course, the idea of monitoring your energy intake is to assist you waste less power. Here are several painless ways to scale back:

PC: An average PC consumes 600 kwh of electricity each year. Software will help you reduce that expenditure. Most programs, like Verdiem’s Surveyor , automatically shift your personal computer to its lowest power settings when the device isn’t not used.

Monitor: Energy Star , a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, recommends shutting your monitor down after five minutes of inactivity. Conveniently, Energy Star offers a link using one of its pages to a Computer Management Savings Calculator, with a monitor component. The website offers drop-down lists of Energy Star-qualified monitors from various vendors on its Monitors page . Finally, for a downloadedable PowerPoint presentation of the program’s guidelines for qualifying monitors, see " Proposed Energy Star Specifications for Computer Monitors ."

THE NET: Some authorities contend that the quantity of energy a cathode-ray tube monitor uses depends upon the colour it displays. In line with the Department of Energy , for instance, a white screen uses 74 watts of power, while a black screen uses only 59 watts. So you might have the ability to save power with a black Google screen such as for example those provided by Google-Black , GreenerGLE , Earthle , and Darkoogle for your searches. Similarly, you can display Word documents as colored text on a black background. Or enable a starry night screen saver.

Use less paper: Even if "print less" isn’t an option for you personally, you can lessen your paper use by 4.75 percent: by just changing your margins . The typical Microsoft Word document sets the margins at 1 inch at the top and bottom of the page, and at 1.75 inches on each side. Reducing those margins to .75 inch each saves paper, money, and trees.

Plug directly into efficiency : Your personal computer, monitor, printer, or other electronic hardware sucks power out of your outlets even though it’s inactive. The very best solution is to plug each component right into a device that prevents useless power drain. BITS Limited’s Smart Strip ($33) powers your personal computer and your peripherals concurrently. And when you switch off your personal computer, the strip automatically suspends capacity to all other devices you are not using.

Another option, Watt Stopper’s IDP-3050 power strip ($40 at Web retailers), includes a motion sensor that turns its outlets on when the strip senses someone in the room–and off when nobody is there.

More Methods to Reduce

More Methods to Reduce

In the home: Every light in your own home uses energy. Lighting-control systems such as for example Watt Stopper’s Wall Switch Vacancy Sensors(about $45 online) can substitute your light switches with motion sensors that turn lights on if they detect people in an area. More-comprehensive systems like Green Switch (starts at $1125) can lessen your energy costs by at least twenty five percent by retrofitting your home with a master switch for simultaneously turning off all light switches, wall plugs, and air-conditioning systems you put under its control.

Outdoors: Water conservation is now a significant issue. WeatherTrakprovides something to modify your lawn-watering system, reducing water use and runoff. The business’s irrigation system will automatically schedule watering predicated on the soil type and slope of your lawn along with data gathered from environment stations and NOAA satellites.

Get money to save: Various state, local, and federal entities established incentives for switching to renewable energy or boosting your energy efficiency. Use DSIRE, the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, to determine what else that can be done to lessen your use (and get some good rebates, grants, and tax deductions as long as you’re at it).

Reuse and Recycle

Technology enthusiasts have a tendency to buy plenty of new gadgets. But rather than dumping the old ones, you will want to recycle them?

PCs: Possibly the best thing that can be done with a vintage computer is to donate it to a charity which will reuse it. Some local United Way chaptersgive refurbished computers to schools and families in need. Another option is to donate your personal computer to a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher, that will ultimately give your personal computer to a charity, nonprofit organization, school, or public library.

Mobile phones: There are many methods to recycle phones, PDAs, cellular phone batteries, chargers, and related accessories (some companies will take your old appliances and other electronics). You can fall off old cell phones at Best Buy, Office Depot, or Staples. Or you can mail out-of-date handsets back again to Sprint, T-Mobile, Samsung, or Motorola. ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY Protection Agency maintains a thorough listof providers and retailers that operate recycling programs.

The rest: The EPA monitors recycling, donation, and refurbishment programs for almost whatever requires electricity to perform. Browse the master list at the EPA’s eCyclingWeb site.

When Buying New, LIVE GREEN

When Buying New, LIVE GREEN

Another important aspect of energy use conservation involves looking ahead. Each and every time you get something new, make certain it’s green. Here are some low-power toys to truly get you started:

Earth-friendly PC: Hewlett-Packard offers a complete type of Energy Star-compliant products. The HP Compaq Business Desktop dc5750($750) posseses an 80GB SATA hard disk drive, 1GB of DDR2 memory, an AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core processor, and the Windows Vista Business operating-system. Under optimum conditions, according to HP, it consumes 52 percent less energy when compared to a standard desktop.

Green storage: Western Digital’s Caviar GP WD10EACS($320) is a 1TB hard disk drive that consumes less power and operates at lower temperatures than comparable-size drives. It scored fairly well on our tests against an identical nongreen hard disk drive.

Light less: Replacing the lights in your own home with compact fluorescent light(CFL) bulbs can lessen your energy use for lighting by 75 percent (CFLs last about 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs, too). Or go a step further and get Motionbulbs ($20)–CFLs built with motion sensors that start when you enter an area and switch off when you leave.

A different sort of pod: Your iPod is excellent, but how energy conserving may be the constant recharging? Perhaps you should try a FIND YOURSELF Eco Media Player (£150) instead. This product comes with an FM stereo radio, plays video and music, and includes a built-in microphone, LED light, and SDCARD reader. To charge its 20-hour battery, you turn a crank at the back–1 minute of winding yields 40 minutes of audio playback. (Or you can plug it right into a USB port and allow electric company do the cranking.)