Environment Forum

Green apps that can save you money

Media members try out the new "iPad" during the launch of Apple's new tablet computing device in San Francisco, California, January 27, 2010. REUTERS/Kimberly White

As the market for applications running on mobile devices like Apple’s iPad and iPhone grows, so do ways to save you money and cut your carbon emissions.

Among them is Avego, a ride-sharing app for the iPhone that lets you offer vacant seats in your car to others and search for free seats if you’re car-less, all in real time. You receive updates on how far away your ride is, so you don’t have to wait around. And it even calculates how much gas-money each passenger should pay. Users create a publicly viewable Avego profile and their reputation can be rated by other members. Paul Smith of Triple Pundit calls the service “brilliant” and an example of “what can be done to reduce traffic, right now, at no additional cost and disruption to our current transportation infrastructure”.

3rdWhaleMobile’s FindGreen app gives GPS-equipped Android smartphones, BlackBerry, and iPhone owners a guide to local retailers and services listed in GenGreen’s Green Business Directory. TechCrunch’s Matylda Czarnecka thought the iPhone version was one of the “top ten apps to make you more green“. But some users in Google’s Android Marketplace complain of few or no listings in their area.

The remotely controlled home may still be in the realm of sci-fi for most, but the future is now for iPhone and iPad users keen on conserving energy and who already have their homes wired to dim the lights and turn the heating on from afar. Lutron’s Home Control+ iPad app allows RadioRA 2 or HomeWorks QS users to control heating, lights, and their window shades.

Control4’s MyHome app for the iPhone and iPad (an Android-powered version is planned) does all that and gives you control of your home entertainment and security systems. The Control4’s iPad app offers “a high-end home product, slick design, and a dashboard offering rich media around energy”, writes GigaOM’s Katie Fehrenbacher.

Apple plugs iPod into the sun


Apple apparently has applied for a patent that would allow its megapopular iPods to run on solar power.

The patent drawings suggest the entire surface of the iPod would be covered in solar paneling, save the display screen and click wheel, Geeksmack.net and GreenBeat report.

And before you point out how annoying it would be to have to pull out your iPod for some sunbathing, it doesn’t need direct rays — the technology enables it to function even when covered by your hand. (The jury is still out on if it works when it’s buried in the inside pocket of your windbreaker or backpack, but whatever.)

from Ruben Ramirez:

Change lightbulbs. Save millions.

Norfolk Southern says it is working hard to reduce the rail operator's carbon footprint. CEO Wick Moorman says the company is in the midst of a 2-year, $10 million project to change the lighting in it's facilities...he says he's even changed the lightbulbs in his office. Click here to listen to how much money Norfolk is saving and what else it's doing to be more "green."
Wick from Tony Johansson on Vimeo.