iZen Bamboo Bluetooth Keyboard
Plastic keyboards will one day fill the earth, but the iZen keyboard won’t be among them. The first eco-friendly Bluetooth keyboard on the market, the iZen is handmade out of 92 percent bamboo. It’s renewable, recyclable, and portable, making it a great option for iPad users on the go. The iZen keyboard is wireless and works with any Bluetooth-enabled device—not just the iPad. It has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and charges with a USB 2.0 cable. The bamboo is coated with wax, which protects it from absorbing water and the oils from your fingers.
Greensleeve iPad Case
Made from a plastic-free material, the Greensleeve iPad case by Gone Studio is crafted using a foot-powered 1935 Singer sewing machine. The only energy required to make it comes from founder, creator, and LEED-accredited professional George Elvin, PhD. The biodegradable case is made from all-natural sheep wool felt imported from Germany that’s naturally water- and stain-resistant. The Greensleeve comes with a one-year replacement warranty and is available in either charcoal gray or kiwi green.
Energy Star-qualified TVs are, on average, over 40 percent more energy efficient than standard TVs. One of the most efficient, according to Energy Star, is the 42-inch Panasonic TC-L42D30. The TV has automatic brightness control and uses about 91 kilowatts of energy a year. Estimating the average price of electricity at 10.9 cents per kilowatt hours and five hours of TV use per day, the Panasonic TC-L42D30 will cost just $10 a year to operate. With a stylish design, excellent viewing angles, good HD image quality, and a solid feature set, this is one TV set you won’t feel bad about leaving on when you run to the bathroom during a commercial.
LG Viper 4G LTE (Sprint)
Leading a green life can mean using eco-friendly gadgets of all shapes and sizes, from items as large as your electric car to as small as your smartphone. The LG Viper 4G LTE for Sprint is one of the most eco-friendly phones yet. Although Sprint’s LTE network is nascent, the Viper is still fast on Sprint’s 3G EVDO Rev A network. The Viper’s casing is made from 50 percent recycled plastic and the package is made from 87 percent recycled material. It also comes with an energy-efficient charger that turns itself off when not in use, so your phone isn’t sucking up power when you leave it plugged in to charge overnight. When you’re ready to upgrade your phone, Sprint will recycle it.
Your home’s thermostat is one of the most important pieces in the low-carbon-footprint puzzle, and the Nest Learning Thermostat fits right in. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that houses can cut about 20 to 30 percent of energy consumption by having the sort of set schedule that Nest makes easy. In the first week of using it, you simply have to turn the thermostat down each time you leave the house or go to bed. The Nest Learning Thermostat will remember these habits and create a schedule. A green leaf icon will appear on the device when you set a temperature that saves you energy and money. The Nest Learning Thermostat connects to your home Wi-Fi network and lets you remotely control your household’s temperature through your smartphone, tablet, or computer. With the Nest Learning Thermostat, you can monitor energy consumption by tracking when heating and cooling is used most, and you can use this information to make plans to reduce your energy bill.
LittleSun Solar-Powered Lantern
Taking a socially conscious spin on tech, LittleSun aims to improve the quality of life of those who don’t have direct access to electricity. Many of these people rely on fuels like kerosene to light their homes. The LittleSun solar-powered lantern is made up of a 6cm-by-6cm single cell mono-crystalline solar module that needs four hours of sunlight to supply five hours of LED light. The lantern provides 10 times more light at one-tenth of the cost of the average wick-based lantern. It’s also very versatile and safer than a flame; it can be hung on the wall or from the ceiling, placed on a desk, affixed to a bicycle, or even attached to clothing. It’s also dustproof and water-, UV-, and heat-resistant.
DX-ECO Battery-Free BlueEye Mouse
Wireless computer mice are great, but their dead batteries take a toll on the Earth. Fortunately, there’s the Genius DX-ECO, a wireless battery-free mouse. The DX-ECO’s electric double-layer ultracapacitor requires a quick three-minute charge each day and will last up to 100,000 charges. The mouse has a bidirectional, 2.4GHz connection, allowing you to work about 50 feet away from your computer. It also operates on a variety of surfaces, including dusted glass, marble, carpet, and even a sofa.
Smart Strip Power Strip
Buying a green gadget is going to do you little good if you leave it plugged in all day. Instead, try plugging your device into a smart strip. Smart strips are power strips that will cut off power to devices when they’re either shut off or in standby mode. Standby power consumption can comprise between five and 10 percent of your total household electric consumption, but using a smart strip can help you save between $100 and $150 a year. Smart strips vary, but the basic kind has three main parts: the control outlet, auto-off outlets, and constant outlets. The control outlet is where you would plug in a device like your TV and the auto-off outlets are where you’d plug in devices like your Blu-ray player, Xbox, and set-top box that only need to be consuming energy when they’re in use. The constant outlets are where you’d plug in devices you want to stay on all the time, like your router and modem, for instance. Both Bits Limited and EcoStrip sell standard smart strip surge protectors.
Named the Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel economy leader and recognized as “The Greenest Vehicle of 2012″ by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Mitsubishi i is the green car to buy right now. It’s 100 percent electric and doesn’t emit any CO2 or exhaust fumes. With a combined 112 MPGs (126 city and 99 highway), the Mitsubishi i is the most efficient electric car in its class. It has an eight-year, 100,000-mile limited battery warranty, which shows Mitsubishi’s confidence in the car. The Mitsubishi i is also currently the most affordable electric car in the United States.
Philips L Prize LED Bulb
The U.S Department of Energy’s Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize (L Prize) competition called for contestants to create an energy-saving replacement for incandescent 60-watt light bulbs. Philip’s 10-watt L Prize light bulb was deemed the winner. If every 60-watt incandescent bulb in the United States was replaced by one of Philips’ L Prize bulbs, the country would save about 35 terawatt hours of electricity (about $3.9 billion in one year), and would avoid 20 million metric tons of carbon emissions. Available today, the L bulb will cost you $60 (but an instant rebate will save you $10). That might sound like a lot, but one bulb provides 30,000 hours of LED light, which totals about 20 years of light if used for four hours each day. Just remember to take the bulb with you if you move.