Everyone has a carbon footprint that follows wherever you go: when you’re traveling, going about your daily life, and even when you’re relaxing at home.
While tech devices can add to this footprint in terms of energy use, technology also gives us amazing tools for living greener. From choosing sustainable materials to using apps and new devices, we can all “green” our tech game as a way to be kinder to the planet every day.
A Greener Home
Our homes are where we shower, clean dishes, and kick back with entertainment, so it’s no wonder that the home is a hub of energy consumption. The good news is that new tech gadgets can cut your home energy use dramatically.
When you’re ready to unwind and watch your favorite TV show, the last thing you want to think about is the energy it requires. However, the trend toward switching from cable to a streaming stick TV device like Roku is not only more cost-effective, but it also makes your entertainment more sustainable. This is largely because cable boxes and DVRs are constantly draining energy — even while you aren’t actively using them. Getting rid of those energy hogs in favor of a streaming service is more efficient because those boxes are unnecessary. This makes your entertainment guilt-free; plus, you get more out of it by being able to choose exactly which services you’ll use the most.
Heating and Cooling
Perhaps the best way to lower your utility bills, and your home’s energy use, is to install a smart thermostat. Mr. Electric explains how smart thermostats allow you to use your smartphone to set your home’s temperature. You can program it to a certain schedule, change the temperature remotely; some models even learn your preferences and adjust automatically.
If you’re ready to make your home’s lighting much more energy-efficient, you have several options, including smart bulbs, smart switches, and smart plugs. Smart bulbs are ideal for use in individual fixtures, but if you want to convert your whole home to more efficient lighting, installing smart switches is the way to go.
Whether you’re at home or away, we could all use a little extra help giving our regular habits a green makeover. Using apps for your smartphone or tablet is the perfect way to solve those everyday dilemmas and find more sustainable options. For example, if you want to be sure you’re shopping in ways that are better for the planet, there are apps for buying clothing on consignment or for finding stores that support your values.
To gain a broader perspective on being more eco-conscious, two of our favorite app recommendations from Women Love Tech include Oroeco and Joulebug. Oroeco is an app that calculates your carbon footprint and helps you discover ways to lower it. For a community-minded approach, Joulebug is an app that connects you to other eco-enthusiasts who share helpful tips, multiplying the positive impact that any one person can make.
Greener on the Go
Living greener starts at home, but it’s equally important to be aware of your carbon footprint when you’re on the go. Apps on your mobile devices can help with this goal too. When you’re traveling, apps can help with the big things, like finding eco-friendly accommodations and fuel-efficient flights, as well as the smaller things, like how to eat local foods that are in season.
Another smart way to decrease the impact your travel makes on the planet is to swap out your electronics for more sustainable options. More electronic devices are now being made with earth-friendly materials, and some phone cases are made from compostable materials.
When you start searching for eco-friendly options, it’s amazing how many solutions there are for sustainable electronics. Recognizing how much of a carbon footprint we have can make anyone feel worried, but awareness is actually the first step towards living more sustainably. Choosing these greener technologies is an easy way we can all take that next step in the right direction.
About the author
Mark Harris is one of five “explorers” at Awareness Toolkits, who dig deep to find info for the creation of toolkits (articles, resource links, tips, guides, etc.) for those looking to spread awareness about specific subjects. They offer a wealth of content to anyone who wants information but doesn’t have the time to hunt it down.