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10 Green Tech Solutions to Help You Save Money

10 Green Tech Solutions to Help You Save Money

Money doesn’t grow on trees, and trees won’t keep growing unless we get environmentally conscious. The great thing about technology is there are options out there to help solve both of these problems. The Earth keeps getting warmer, so it’s important to think of ways to reduce your carbon footprint. But what about reducing the strain on your wallet? As you’ll see below, action to slow down climate change and methods of saving money aren’t mutually exclusive.

1. Solar panels

solar-panels

    According to Marylhurst University, buildings are responsible for 65% of electricity consumption and 30% of greenhouse-gas emissions in the US. Solar panels are a great way to reduce or even eliminate your dependence on the grid. This will lessen the amount of pollution from power plants and lessen what you pay for electricity. There are the upfront costs of buying and installing panels, but these will be offset by tax credits and overall electricity bill savings. Here, you can access a free calculator to determine costs and savings.

    Solar panel tech isn’t just for the home. NanoGrid’s flexible solar panels fit into your backpack. They weigh only four-and-a-half pounds, and charge a lithium-ion battery. They’ll charge your cell phone and other electronic devices while you’re on the go, and are great for camping or extended trips in countries where electricity sources are few and far between.

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    2. Green cars

    tesla

      There are a number of environmentally friendly options for your vehicle:

      • Convert your engine to run on vegetable oil. Restaurants oftentimes have free waste vegetable oil to power your car
      • Go diesel. Multiple diesel options, such as the Audi A3 TDI, get more than 40 miles to the gallon
      • Go hybrid. You’ll recoup the expense of a $20,000 Prius by getting nearly 50 mpg

      If you’re going to drive, greening your vehicle is a must. This is one of the top ways to personally put a dent in climate change. Car and Driver’s list of hybrid and electric cars is a good starting point for your research. Watch out for the Tesla 3 in 2017. If you can afford to fork out $35,000, you’ll get over 200 miles on a single charge. This pays for itself and then some over time.

      3. Green apps

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      person-hand-smartphone-technology

        There are some great green apps to consider. Green Outlet asks you to identify which appliances you use each month and give an estimate of how much time you spend on them. Then, it calculates how much carbon you’ll use and how much money you’ll spend. This will help you cut down on using those appliances that really cost you and the planet. Green Gas Saver tells you about your driving habits and helps you learn how to drive in a way that cuts down on fuel costs. Green Charging vibrates and sounds an alarm when your phone’s battery is full, so you don’t waste power on overcharging. It also tells you how long you how much phone time you have left at your current battery level.

        4. Rainwater harvesting system

        rainwaterharvest

          This is simple technology that makes a difference. You can either build your own rainwater harvesting system, or there are multiple sites where you can buy one. Through filtration or boiling, you save money on drinking water, cooking water, and bathing water. Non-potable rainwater is great for irrigation, lawns, toilets, and livestock. Here you can find a ton of resources, vendors, and info on rainwater harvesting. This is a whole movement of people who want to minimize wear and tear on aquifers and sewers, as well as conserve on water-usage altogether.

          5. Wind generator

          This is yet another way to cut down on your power bill and use the Earth’s natural resources instead of polluting. A wind generator uses turbines to capture the wind’s energy, which is then transferred to the generator and converted into electricity. Like the rainwater harvesting system, you can either build your own wind generator, or buy one. Treehugger boasts a DIY guide to building one for around $30. You won’t save nearly as much on power with a cheap, homemade version, but anything counts.

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          6. Smart power strips

          When they’re plugged into a power strip or outlet, some devices will continue to drain energy even when they’re off or fully charged. A smart power strip senses when that’s happening, and stops powering the guilty devices. Energy vampires – the devices that drain power unnecessarily – account for about 5 to 10 percent of your house’s energy consumption. A smart strip makes sure these devious devices don’t suck you dry.

          7. Energy monitor

          energymonitor

            Energy monitors are an inexpensive way to cut back on your power usage and lower your bill. There are monitors that measure your entire house’s usage, such as the Blue Line PowerCost Monitor, or there are those that measure how much an individual appliance is using, such as the Kill A Watt EZ Electricity Monitor. The Blue Line simply clamps onto your meter and transmits data to an LCD screen. With the Kill A Watt, you just plug the appliance into it. Either way, both of these can help you catch over-use before your power bill comes.

            8. Energy Star appliances

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            energystar

              Energy Star appliances are the ones you’ll (hopefully) never have to plug into an energy monitor. These products have earned top ratings and a certification from the Environmental Protection Agency. They consume the least amount of energy and perform the best. According to the EPA, the Energy Star program has reduced 2.5 billion tons of greenhouse gases, and has helped people save a collective $362 billion dollars on utilities.

              9. Electric moped

              govecs_electric_scooter_delivery_box

                Compared with electric vehicles, electric mopeds are a lot less expensive, and driving one is a fun way to get around town. The Vectrix Electric Scooter has a 125-volt Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery and hits 50 mph in 6.8 seconds. Electric Vehicle Technology’s Z-20 Electric Scooter goes up to 45 mph with a range of 30-45 miles. The Zapino, meanwhile, can go 30 mph, and you can get an optional lithium-ion battery that will take 65 miles on a single charge. These beasts will save you money if all you really need a vehicle for is a short commute.

                10. Rechargeable batteries

                battery-1071317_640

                  Face it, you’re tired of buying batteries anyhow. The little buggers are expensive, and disposing of them takes up landfill space. PCWorld notes that just one pack of AAs per month will cost you $72 a year, while Energizer’s recharging station and a pack of rechargeables will save you about $50. Just make sure you recycle them when you’re through with them. According to Environment, Health and Safety Online, rechargeable batteries contain the heavy metal Nickel-Cadmium. If that stuff leaks into the waste stream, rechargeables are more hazardous than their worth.

                  Featured photo credit: Mike Bird via pexels.com

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                  Dan Matthews, CPRP

                  A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

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                  Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                  7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                  7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                  Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                  Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                  Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                  So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                  Joe’s Goals

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                    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                    Daytum

                      Daytum

                      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                      Excel or Numbers

                        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                        Evernote

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                          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                          Access or Bento

                            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                            Conclusion

                            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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