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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 May 14, 2019

                  8 Replacements for Google Notebook

                  8 Replacements for Google Notebook

                  Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

                  1. Zoho Notebook
                    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
                  2. Evernote
                    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
                  3. Net Notes
                    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
                  4. i-Lighter
                    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
                  5. Clipmarks
                    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
                  6. UberNote
                    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
                  7. iLeonardo
                    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
                  8. Zotero
                    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

                  I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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                  In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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