To reduce energy consumption while still remaining connected is the Holy Grail these days. The tech industry has been stepping up to the plate recently with smart meters and home automation features and products. You can buy individual pieces of tech or integrated systems in your quest for reduction of energy usage. Let’s take a look at a few of these items.
The WeMo Insight Switch
The WeMo Insight Switch from Belkin is a component in the overall Belkin WeMo home automation product lineup. Belkin is a leader in the home networking market, making some of the best and most affordable router hardware platforms available. The WeMo Insight Switch lets you control an electrical outlet from an Android or iOS mobile device. The mobile app lets you schedule the times when the switch turns on and off and also lets you configure usage alerts for devices connected to the Insight Switch.
Charge Your Mobile Devices Using Body Motion
A couple of watchmakers have been using body motion to keep their watches charged/wound for quite some time. The nPower Personal Energy Generator (PEG) builds on this idea to convert the motion of your body during your everyday life to charge your mobile devices. Simply strap the PEG to an arm or leg or toss it into a purse or backpack, plug your device’s charging cable into it, and go about your day, walk, run, bike, or go shopping. Your device will be charged as the generator moves around. It can also be used to provide enough charge for your phone to make a quick call by shaking it for a few minutes. The internal battery will last for up to 100 days without any motion.
Stay On Time Using Water
Water is one of the most abundant resources we have on the planet and it contains hydrogen and oxygen, both extremely reliable energy sources. Hydrogen is currently being used to fuel test and research vehicles to take us into the next century. The Bedol water clock uses similar technology to convert the energy in a few drops of water into energy to power the clock. It’s not anything fancy, just a simple digital clock with a single alarm, but hey, who needs fancy when they just need to wake up for that 7 a.m. meeting?
Another Take on Using Motion to Generate Electricity
We have been generating electrical energy by harnessing motion for more than a century. The Siva Atom from Siva Cycle is another device that helps you reduce energy consumption by using the age-old principle of converting motion into electricity. The Siva Atom is more like the generators we are familiar with, in that it converts rotational energy into electrical energy using a magnetic field rotating in conjunction with a coil of wire.
The Atom is attached to the rear axle of your bike on the diagonal stabilizer. As you pedal around, the Atom generates 5 VCD 1000 mA. This is available to charge any USB-powered device just like when you plug them into the wall at home. Go for a two-hour bike ride and a completely flat phone will be close to fully charged, especially if you don’t use the music player app while you ride.
Go Energy Sleuthing with The Ted Energy Detective
The Ted Energy Detective is a kit that is a little more complex than the other items on this list. It’s also a little more dangerous to use. The basic premise is that you clamp two inductive sensors onto the main power cables for your house, then hook up an Energy Control Center to a computer. Using a piece of software known as Footprints, you can custom tailor an energy usage profile and save yourself up to 30-percent off your electric bill.
Let Your Laptop Case Charge Your Laptop
This is cool. For about $400, my laptop case can also become my laptop charger. Yeah, that’s pretty expensive, and it’s going to take quite a while to pay itself off, but the Voltaic solar laptop charging case is a great idea, especially for people like me who live in sunny climates. Even better, it doesn’t just charge laptops, but it’ll also charge small USB devices like phones and iPods. There’s also a port that can connect the case to an AC outlet or a DC charging outlet in your vehicle.
Reduce Energy Consumption Using the Eco Button
This is a cool little device for those of us that are laptop users. It looks like one of those small closet click lights from the ’80s and ’90s, but it’s quite a bit more. Plug the Eco Button into your laptop and tap the button when you step away for a few minutes. When you come back, tap it again and it’ll tell you how much money and carbon you just saved.
Photo Credit: Voltaic Systems