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CES 2011: Green Trends

Green Technology at CES Green technologies have been hot for the past four to five years at CES, and 2011 was no exception with everything from energy-efficient gadgets to fully electric cars were on display at CES this year. Below are seven Green trends spotted at the 2011 CES show:

The first green trend includes a rebranding of the home automation industry into home energy management. When times are tough for an industry, you need to adapt are focus on the trends. The typical companies where at CES like Control4 and iControl, but startups including GreenWave Reality (started June 2010 by former Cisco execs) and 4Home (which was acquired recently by Motorola) showed products. 4Home will provide connected home service with energy management in a service that will be piloted through Verizon in New Jersey next month.

New e-recycler Swapngreen will buy your old electronics

Recycling e-waste is good for the environment, but it must also be good business, because there are now so many options for folks to get their old electronics processed properly and even get some cash back.

Here’s a new one called SwapnGreen. They will buy your broken or used electronics including cell phones, iPods, iPhones, smart phones, MP3 players, PDAs, MP3 players. They’ll even pay for shipping.

Other similar services include: BuyMyTronics.comYouRenewMyBoneYard and Gazelle (and even Costco/Gazelle).

ReNu – Green Chargers for Your iGadgets

Green Charger for iGadgets

We love our iPods, iPhones, and digital cameras. But when millions of users recharge their gadgets using fossil fuel-powered energy, it puts an incredible strain on our fast depleting sources of exhaustible energy.

ReNu has released a ‘green recharger’ that will allow users to enjoy their gadgets with worrying about the environmental impact. The company has developed a modular solar panel- square in shape and black in color- that will recharge your iPods, phones, and cameras using the freely available solar energy.

The Green Microgym’s members powers its lights, reduces its CO2 footprint

the green microgymIf you live in Portland, OR, and want to improve your carbon footprint while getting/staying in shape, then take a look at The Green Microgym. In a nutshell, Green Microgym (TGM) offers an environmentally-conscious gym experience.

The actual neat details include the fact that the exercise machines are hooked up to the building’s energy grid, and your workouts actually help to power the lights and other electricity needs. TGM estimates that their carbon footprint is less than half if they were run as a regular gym.

Another nice benefit is that for every hour you workout, you get a $1 credit towards their store. Workout for 10 hours and you get a 50% off coupon at a local adidas store.

They’re franchising, so you can grab your own TGM for your town.

Nokia is ‘greenest’ electronics company says Greenpeace

Greenpeace’s latest edition (12th) of their Guide to Greener Electronics still has Nokia at the top with Samsung and Sony Ericsson rounding out the top 3. Holding extremely poor scores, Nintendo, Lenovo, Fujitsu and Microsoft are at the bottom of the 17 company list. While this isn’t meant to be an all out examination of every electronics manufacturer out there, covering the top vendors makes sense as they would contribute directly or indirectly to pollution and environmental damage.

Greenpeace has the latest rankings at their website, and you can download the full report in PDF format as well.

Go Green and Save Paper and other Materials - Go Green!
The Geeks always look for methods to improve life, usually through the use of gadgets and gizmos, but today we’re looking at the opportunity to save on the use of paper and other materials.

Besides the whole “green” aspect of opting out of printing or using paper, there are several other advantages that non-treehuggers can take advantage of. For instance, I have yet to find a way to use my hands to grep for what I’m looking for in the physical world, while I can type in a word or phrase and click search using a digital magazine or downloaded ebill.

Another advantage I’ve realized while switching to using ebills and mostly digital content is uncluttered space. My wife and I have purchased one CD (latest Eagle CD that at first only came out in Walmart stores) in the past few years so the space required for an expanding CD collection has not continued to grow… thank goodness! We already have one and a half wall units dedicated/wasted to CDs.

Apple iTunes You can try out the iTunes service for free using the free song of the week or if you prefer to go DRM-free, check out Amazon’s MP3 store. I’ve been an iTunes user for several years and my wife and I love the simple-to-use interface, but I just tested Amazon’s MP3 store with a $5 “coupon” I received for doing some Christmas shopping on Amazon, and I was impressed with the easy downloader. Our next step is to move to digital video, but we haven’t picked the technology to use.

We’re also moving to moving all of our bills to e-bills. While some smaller vendors simply don’t offer e-bills and send a paper bill, most larger companies will happily move to an e-bill as it saves paper and stamp costs as well as some labor. To save these costs vendors are even offering discounts for moving to e-bills. In some cases, vendors offer a $5 a month saving which equals $60 a year. As if the $60 savings per year is not enough, maintaining the paper records in various file cabinets instead of storing folders on your computer should be extra incentive.

With USB sticks up to 16GB now (for less than $30!), you can easily carry a year of all your bills on a stick for access anywhere which brings up another benefit… portability! Have you ever gone to work planning to fight a bill to realize you forgot to bring the bill with you?

Besides being “cool” and “going green”, there are practical reasons with tangible benefits of moving towards the digital content era including the ability to perform quick searches across material, cutting down on physical clutter, saving actual money and portability. I bet you could sit down and think of a few additional benefits of going paperless.

By the way, please bookmark this page and don’t print! 🙂

Are we green yet?

Monk and his I.T. Junk Energy Efficiency
I have been feeling quite green recently – and not in a ‘cannot get out bed with man flu kind of way’. No, instead I have been thinking about how I can be that little bit more energy efficient so that has been my focus over the last week. Switching off devices if there are not actually needed, not printing out everything and anything that catches my eye, and safely recycling unused equipment instead of throwing it in the trash.

For the gadget lovers out there I recently wrote about the USB Ecobutton. And if you are wondering what can be done to help with being a little more energy efficient try the new Green IT Poster.

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