It is an unfortunate fact, but technology isn’t always what is best for the environment. However, there is a lot that can be done to make technology more green. Technology can help us understand how much power we use on a regular basis, and much of the technology we have now is many times more efficient than it was a few years ago. Knowing how to minimize your impact can have a great long-term effect on the environment.
The Energy Star rating system is one of the most recognizable symbols that tells consumers that the products they are buying are going to be energy efficient.
A refrigerator made between 1993 and 2000 can cost in the neighborhood of $130/year to operate, depending on where you live. Compared to the energy efficiency of a refrigerator made today that operates at about $50/year, this can be a difference of almost a half-ton of greenhouse gases released into the environment per year.
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Making sure your appliances are as efficient as possible means that in the long run you will be able to save a lot of money, greenhouse gases and water.
The mobile phone market is one of the areas with the fastest turnover in terms of what is the latest and greatest smartphone. Because there are so many manufacturers, there is a new top-of-the-line model out almost every month. Right now, that phone is the Samsung Galaxy S7. But you shouldn’t just throw your phone away. A phone thrown into the trash is going to sit in a landfill forever because there isn’t much there to degrade. Instead, recycling your old phone is the best course of action.
Thankfully, it is extremely easy to recycle your old technology. Almost any store that sells technology will have a recycling program both for batteries and for your old phone or computer.
According to the EPA, recycling 1 million phones can save 35,000 pounds of copper and dozens of pounds of other rare elements that are perfectly good to use again. As a result, less copper will need to be mined, preventing further damage to the environment.
Batteries are another electronic item that should not be thrown away. The elements within can be toxic if they leak into the environment. Some can be reused.
Many small elements within your home can be replaced, saving you energy and benefiting the environment.
Light bulbs are one of quickest ways to begin reducing your carbon footprint. The traditional incandescent bulb might last 1,200 hours, but an LED can last upwards of 50,000 hours. So while the initial cost might be a bit higher, and this is increasingly not the case, you will end up spending more on an incandescent bulb over its limited lifespan. LED lighting is also more energy efficient.
A smart thermostat such as the Nest is another way to save energy over the course of a year. These thermostats are able to calculate the most efficient temperature for your house. They can also be easily programmed to turn off or run minimally when you aren’t at home. You can activate this thermostat through a Wi-Fi network, so if you leave work early or late, the house will be at the perfect temperature when you get home.