April 22 is Earth Day. Celebrate on Wednesday—or any day!—by taking a walk outside or visiting your favorite park. Then read on to learn how technology can help you shrink your carbon footprint and renew your appreciation for our planet.
“Smart home” innovations are reshaping how we use energy in our living spaces. After “learning” your habits and preferences, these high-tech thermostats, lights, and appliances can automatically adjust to optimize efficiency. Some also offer remote operation. Forgot to turn out the lights when you left for work this morning? Just pull out your smartphone and use an app to switch them off from the office. Check out reviews of smart home products at CNET.
If you still have a not-so-smart home, download these apps—for free!—in honor of Earth Day.
- Save trees with PaperKarma. Use your mobile device’s camera to submit photos of unwanted junk mail, and the service processes “unsubscribe” requests for you!
- Save resources with JouleBug. Tackle “Achievements” laid out by the app to reduce your consumption of energy, oil, water…and money! Compete with friends, or just challenge yourself to advance on the leaderboard.
- Save gas with GasTracker+. Track your MPG using this app and its companion website, Fuelly. Compare fuel grades, driving habits, and stations; when you’re shopping for a new car, use Fuelly to compare makes and models. (This app is only available for iOS. A similar app for Android is Fuelio.)
Finally, for a unique perspective on the planet, explore Earth Now from NASA. This app showcases satellite images overlaid with current environmental conditions as measured by NASA’s Earth Observatory.