J500 Media and the Environment

Taking remote-control of your home by meganr21
March 6, 2009, 12:48 pm
Filed under: Design + Architecture, Science + Tech | Tags: , , ,

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned while living in Kansas it’s that the weather has a mind of its own. Imagine you’ve been out of town the last two weeks. In that time the temperature has fluctuated between 20+ degrees below freezing and the mid 80’s. So what happens when you’re a few hundred miles away and you can’t race home to turn the heat on so your pipes don’t freeze? You get a system like iControl.

iControl is a remote home monitoring system that permits you to control devices in your home from anywhere via a web portal or cell phone. This allows you to maximize your home’s energy efficiency by remotely adjusting your thermostat or turning off that lamp you forgot about.

Just want to control your appliances? Check out Plogg, a wireless energy management device. Like iControl, Ploggs allow you to control appliances remotely, which can save tons of energy and money each year.

So if you’re like me and have a tendency to forget to flip off a lamp when running out the door or you hear about a freak snowstorm when you’re out of town for the weekend, take remote-control of your home. Not only will it give you peace of mind, it’s also a great way to save energy and money and it’s easy, you’re online now so you’re practically half way there!

Megan Richards

Image Credit: Peabody Spaces

Get your share of $3 billion dollars! (not a scam!!!) by meganr21
February 27, 2009, 12:49 am
Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: , , ,

Lately I’ve taken to listening to planet green podcasts and one recent topic called ‘Save Electricity and Money’ struck a cord with me. Not only is it really easy to make a difference, you can save money too.

 A Cornell University energy expert estimates that vampires cost Americans $3 billion a year. No, not the pale, blood-sucking, cape wearing ones who can’t stand the light of day – rather your appliances! So what are these vampires? They’re electronic devices that suck electricity even when they’re not being used. When I read this figure I took a look around my room and was ashamed when I realized I had 11 devices plugged into one wall.

Until I did some research I was like most people – under the impression that once a device is turned off, the electricity to that appliance is stopped. While that may be true for some gadgets (like my energy star printer), there are many culprits scattered throughout the average household that continue to suck vast amounts of energy, even when turned off. 

So how do you find these fugitive appliances? Simple – the Kill-A-Watt. The Kill-A-Watt is a cool gadget allows you measure the energy a device uses in standby mode and figure out how much it’s costing you each year.

Now that you know who your worst offenders are you can do something about them. If you can’t afford to by all new energy efficient appliances, Bits ltd has developed the Smart Strip, a power strip that cuts off the supply of electricity when an appliance is turned off. The Smart Strip will pay for itself within the first 6 weeks with electricity savings. It’s easy, in no time you’ll be slaying your vampires and saving yourself around $200 a year.

 -Megan Richards

thanks to global rooftop energy initiative for the picture