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
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.
2. Green cars
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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