Itching for a new gadget? Here are five moderately priced devices you can use in your home to save energy, resources and, best of all, money.
1. Simplehuman Fingerprint-Proof Recycling Bin
Recycling is one of the most tangible ways to get involved in the green movement, but the fact of the matter is that people simply won’t do it if it’s not convenient. Space issues are a No. 1 concern for apartment dwellers, and proper separation is a hurdle that even the savviest of recyclers can botch. So, we were pumped to find a smart recycling bin that makes the process easier (and stylish). The simplehuman fingerprint-proof semi-round recycler has two color-coded buckets for easy trash/recyclable separation. Plus, its flat back can fit easily against the wall, saving space in the smallest of studios. Price: $139.99
2. The Off Remote App
The Off Remote is aptly named for its purpose: It turns off your computer devices from your iPhone or iPad. This works great for computers without an automatic sleep mode, and setup is fairly simple. While the concept sounds very basic, the download is worth the savings. According to a study by 1E and the Alliance to Save Energy, 10,000 PCs will waste $260,000 in energy throughout the year due to computers that are powered up when no one is using them. Price: $2.99 for ad-free app, but there is a version available for free.
3. The Raindrop Mini
Rainwater harvesting sounds like a great idea in theory, but in practice, it can be a little janky. We’ve covered simple DIY rainwater harvesting methods homeowners can implement on a tight budget, but those solutions are less than attractive to the eye. The Raindrop Mini not only makes rainwater harvesting easy, but it actually blends in well with its surroundings. Integrated into your balcony’s waterspout, the watering can fills up automatically when it rains and saves the water for usage in the garden or indoor plants. Designed by Studio Bas van der Veer, the product is available in stores in Europe, but you can order online. Price: Approximately $84.50
4. Paper Log Maker
If you’re still a newspaper subscriber, you know how fast those dailies can add up. You can haul that stack of newsprint, junk mail or magazines to the recycling bin, or you can use the Paper Log Maker to recycle it into a paper briquette of energy-efficient fuel for the fireplace. Simply soak the paper in water, put into brick maker, squeeze out water and voila! You now have your own brick of fuel for the fire. No more chopping wood for you. Price: Approximately $24
ThinkGeek’s Kill-A-Watt isn’t new or even that fancy, but if you’re looking to save energy in the home, it’s a must-have. The device measures how much energy each electronic and home appliance uses in your home to help you find the biggest power-sucking gadget. An LCD screen displays your energy usage in kilowatt hours, eliminating that jaw-drop reaction come next billing cycle. Price: $19.99