Smartphones - Saving Time, Money and the Environment?
Most smartphones can hold up to 2160 apps. That’s a lot of info right at your fingertips, if you choose your apps wisely. Need to know when the next bus in coming? There’s an app for that. Want to know how to ride the bus across town (seriously, the bus intimidated me for years until I got the locator bus app) – there’s an app for that! There was a time when we thought nothing could beat Goggle. But because of the amazing level of innovation we’ve seen in recent years; there’s nothing we can’t accomplish with our smartphones and their apps.
As I’ve said before, my last two years on this planet have been an adventure into the previously unknown world of environmentalism. I quickly learned that my recycling methods were pathetic, my couch contained toxic chemicals, and that I needed to know the practices of my local grocery stores meat producer. Not that there’s such a thing as a good or bad environmentalist per say, but being informed and having access to the right information is crucial. And, for the most part, ‘green apps’ are like my cheat sheet.
Last year, the White House launched their Green Button Initiative – where data is provided across multiple utilities. This data file can then be shared with third party developers (app developers) to save us money. Recently the state of California – a well-known leader in reducing energy consumption – received national recognition for saving Californian’s $65 billion in energy costs over that last 40 years. Programs like the California Independent System Operator (IOS) Flex Alerts in conjunction with Green Button Initiative data have led to residential electricity bills falling 25 percent below the national average and 110,000.00 green jobs in California. That to me very much sounds like a success story for the state. And with the President’s new climate change plan well underway, I for one will continue to do my part – and not just when it comes to energy consumption. With all of the amazing innovation and technology focusing on transportation, sustainable food -- you name it-- it has gotten easier and easier to make decisions good for you and good for our planet. Young people have especially taken to utilizing these apps to be more productive and informed on the go. So go ahead, install that app and see where it takes you!
Here are a few I use regularly, as well as newly introduced ‘green-like apps’ that may surprise you:
Wiser EMS - The Wiser Energy Management System makes energy use easy to view and understand with “infographics.” Visually shows you where you can reduce energy consumption in your home to reduce your energy costs.
Energy Tracker - Track the consumption of your appliance’s energy so there are no “surprises” when your bill comes. This app also makes me think twice about doing an extra “small’ load of laundry.
Sonoma County Beach Health – One of the first apps of its kind. Displays water quality data collected by Sonoma Dept. of Health Services to keep you and your loves ones out of polluted waters.
Sidecar Ride – Make new friends and keep your carbon footprint low by using easy app ridesharing. This app matches everyday people in their own cars with people nearby for shared rides.
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