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5 High-Tech Devices That Will Save You Both Kinds of Green

Going high-tech and changing your home to go green are working together in a growing synergy. Each year more smart devices come on the market that are not only earth-friendly but pretty cool to have in your home. Here are five examples.

1. High-tech thermostats

It’s no surprise that since a majority of home energy bills involve heating and cooling costs, much of the new technology for homes centers on this. Older homes have inefficient systems that waste an incredible amount of energy.

Much of the waste is attributable to climate control of rooms that are not in use and when the home is unoccupied. Smart technologies now give you programmable thermostats you can control from anywhere.

Applications and Internet-enabled technology provide greater control while you’re away, as well as networking of thermostats for efficient climate control throughout your home.

2. Motion sensors

Remember when you were a child and your parents would remind you to turn out the lights when you left a room? Motion sensors will turn on lights when you enter a room and shut them off when you leave.

This technology isn’t limited to lighting. Electrical and other systems through your house can be outfitted with sensors to cut the flows to other devices as well. Some devices even allow you to do this using an application on a smartphone so you can monitor and shut off any appliances, electrical systems, and anything else that might have been left on when you rushed out the door.

3. Solar power

Even though it could save an average of 30% of their power consumption, some people aren’t ready to commit fully to solar energy. This is understandable, since converting to solar requires a costly initial investment.

The good news is that many smaller solar collection devices can cut your energy costs. By placing solar panels on patios, porches, garages, or at other outdoor locations, you can increase the efficiency of your home dramatically.

Some companies offer hybrid devices that run on both solar and direct power to provide some savings and take that small step toward being greener.

4. Smart Appliances

When LG released its line of smart appliances at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2012, people went crazy over them. From a refrigerator that creates menus and inventories its contents, to a washing machine that was not just eco-friendly but also fast and high-capacity, these advances in home technology were the greatest in many years.

Utilizing Internet networking technology, these appliances are able to connect and even communicate with one another, which allows for easier use and greater energy efficiency.

5. Power adapters

There’s a common myth that installing energy- and cost-saving devices requires a ton of work and a complete overhaul of the space. The reality is that you can do quite a few things that save money and still do your share in going green.

The average household uses 13% of its home energy simply charging and powering up devices each year. Typical charging devices push far too much energy through their adapters during a charge-up and continue to do so even when the charge is complete.

A company called Green Plug offers an alternative that creates a “smart” style of charging device that powers down when it isn’t connected for a charge and only feeds power to the device when it needs it.

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Chevy Spark Goes 139.7 Miles on One Charge

Chevrolet Spark

One of the biggest knocks against the electric vehicle revolution is range. It’s hard to get from one charging station to another in some places around the country. They are city drivers, designed to get you back and forth from work less than 20 miles away to get you there without incident on the EPA-rated 82 mile range Chevrolet Spark.

Digital Trends wanted to put the limits to the test. According to Chevy, they could get well over 100 miles in ideal situations. Those “ideal” situations weren’t exactly practical – 18 MPH nonstop with the right driving conditions. To test it, they took it to the track and set the record, unofficially. There are no recorded events for this type of test, so it’s the record as far as we know. That’s good enough for us!

According to the driver:

I prodded the Chevy team for more info. The Spark EV engineers admitted that in ideal conditions, the Spark could probably go 160 to 180 miles on a single charge, which – at 18.5 mph – would take around nine hours of non-stop driving.

Read More: Digital Trends

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last update: April 24, 2014

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Ford Gives us the 101 on Hybrids

Ford Hybrid

There is more and more confusion added to the mix every time the automakers come out with a new version of energy efficient vehicles. There’s hybrids, plug-in hybrids, plug-in electric vehicles, and likely several more on the way that combine gas, electricity, solar, hydrogen, nuclear, and gravitational energy induction to propel our vehicles.

Continue reading Ford Gives us the 101 on Hybrids

Energy:

First Solar Powered Plane About to Fly Across U.S.

With concerns about limited energy sources, solar power is becoming one of the hottest trends in tech development. Still, the fact that the first solar-powered plane has started a cross-country journey in the U.S. is incredible to most. The ultra-lightweight solar-powered plane, named Solar Impulse, is powered by the sun’s rays along with on-board batteries for reserve power. During it’s cross-country flight, not a drop of fuel will be utilized, making it the first flight of its kind.

The flight, which took off from San Francisco, California for the first of five segments of the trip, will reach an altitude of round 21,000 feet. A live feed on the plane’s website will broadcast the aircraft’s altitude, speed and location along with interior and exterior camera views. Two pilots, the founders of the plane, will take turns navigating.

That first leg of the trip concluded 18 hours after takeoff in Phoenix, Arizona. Although the plane travels much slower than traditional airlines (the average speed is about 43 miles per hour or 69 km per hour), the technology is still in development and further advances will likely lead to faster planes. Also, the plane’s costs are significantly diminished thanks to the use of solar power and battery power as opposed to fuel.

High fuel prices have caused air travel to become more expensive in more recent years. However, travelers have found great alternatives in terms of deals on accommodations and transportation which have allowed them to make up for that extra cost. New technologies like solar-powered flight may one day contribute to the growing means of transportation both in and around the U.S.

A few hurdles continue to stand in the way of solar power as a practical energy source for air flight. First, the plane’s lightweight design means that it cannot stand up to strong winds. Rain and clouds are also adverse conditions that which produce only minor setbacks for regular passenger planes while delaying a solar-powered flight for hours or even days.

Naturally, the inventors of this solar-powered airplane and the proponents of solar energy continue to work hard to improve the plane’s design and usability. For the time being, however, these achievements prove that we live in an exciting time where major advances in technology and green energy are being made each and every day.

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Greening it Up on the Drive

Commuting

Despite the trend of working from home rather than driving to the office, commuting on the roads is still a reality for millions of Americans. Rising gas prices have many people contemplating changing cars or even changing jobs. It’s starting to get ridiculous.

Continue reading Greening it Up on the Drive

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Sitting Sunny: Top 10 Countries Using Solar

Solar Power

Solar power around the world has seen its ups and downs over the past couple of decades. Some say it’s too expensive. Others say it’s impractical. Many believe it’s the future of energy worldwide. Who’s right?

Continue reading Sitting Sunny: Top 10 Countries Using Solar

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Important Hypothetical: What if Solar Panels were on EVERY Roof?

Solar Panels

It will be very easy for trolls and skeptics to take jabs at the concept. It’s impractical, expensive, inefficient, and extremely unlikely to ever happen in any of our lifetimes. Still, one should ask, “What if?”

This infographic by our friends at 1Bog takes a stab at the question and comes up with some interesting statistics about why it’s not only possible, but something that should be considered (at least on a limited scale).

In the early part of the century, many considered it impossible to create cities or neighborhoods with complete internet coverage, and yet I live in such a city in a house where every room other than restrooms has various types of connections and the neighborhood is flooded with public-access WiFi.

Many thought that it was impossible for Ford to ever recover from the direction they were heading in 2006, but Murfreesboro Ford is a shining example of what can happen when you believe in the possibilities.

Continue reading Important Hypothetical: What if Solar Panels were on EVERY Roof?

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Aerodynamic Truck Could Cut Fuel Costs In Half

Big Rig Using nothing but design software, industrial design consultant Jeremy Singley has managed to create a truck with a vastly improved fuel economy. Continue reading Aerodynamic Truck Could Cut Fuel Costs In Half

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