40 Eco-Apps that Put Technology to Work for the Environment
Technology may not be a panacea to solve the climate crisis, but green applications (eco-apps) are helping to drive awareness and foster responsible action. There was a time when eco-apps did little more than provide lists of so-called "green" products and services. Now green-themed apps have turned mobile devices into portals for environmental education and sustainable action.
The smartphone market share is now estimated to be more than 40 percent in the U.S. Around the world, smartphones are proliferating and green apps are growing along with them. Eco-apps can help people be more efficient and reduce their energy consumption.
There are a wide variety of energy apps including those that monitor efficiency and consumption. Apps help with things like recycling and other aspects of green living. Mobile and tablet based smart energy applications help consumers to optimize their energy and water consumption, monitor their appliances, water heater and other electronics. These apps can also monitor and operate HVAC, grey water (from rain), automated windows (shutters and blinds) and lighting systems. They can even provide information about renewable energy conversion and variable price grid management.
Here is a list of some of the best eco-apps compiled from a variety of sources including the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Living Green Magazine, Clean Techies, Good & Green Guides, ecofriend, Solar Energy and the Globe and Mail. Most of the Apps listed below are free or cost less than one dollar.
At the end of May 2012, the Department of Energy announced the winners of its Apps for Energy competition. Apps for Energy challenged developers to build applications that help consumers get the most out of their energy usage data. These apps were created using Green Button, which is an open standard for sharing electricity data of utility customers. The goal was to help consumers to understand and reduce their energy use.
The Apps for Energy competition had a few key goals. The first was to encourage open innovation around Green Button. With Apps for Energy, they challenged developers to leverage the enormous potential of Green Button data by building web and mobile applications that help homeowners and business understand their energy usage and take action, so they can save money by saving energy. As the number of utilities around the country offering Green Button data increases, the importance of these applications will continue to grow. Equally important is the effort to create a thriving, energy-focused developer community that is committed to using technology to address real-world challenges, like reducing energy waste.
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