When you’re looking to make a technology purchase, there are many factors to consider. Your uses for the device and how much it costs are typically the first ones that come to mind. You might also take into account its likely longevity and durability. But with rising concern for the health of the planet, factoring in a technology’s environmental impact is important as well.
It’s no secret that the planet is fragile. It reacts to how we humans treat it, good and bad. Daily choices — like the technologies we use — all add up and make an impact. So, if we’re all making eco-friendly decisions, the world is healthier. If we’re not, the opposite is true.
Fortunately, some technologies exist that allow humans to enjoy the perks of living in the 21st century while also benefiting the earth. Here are a few to consider before making your next tech purchase.
1. Solar Panels Technologies
While it’s great to help the planet, many people are unwilling to sacrifice their comfort. Although it’s possible to live in a hot climate without air conditioning, for example, it’s mighty unpleasant. Even if it comes at a high cost to consumers and the planet, most people can’t do without their AC.
Luckily, solar panels offer the best of both worlds, enabling the comfort electricity use provides while helping the environment. Unlike traditional energy sources — namely fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas — solar panels absorb the sun’s rays. Those rays then make electricity generation possible. That clean electricity can be used to power air conditioning and other everyday conveniences while reducing the carbon impact on the planet.
The good news is that solar installation is not as expensive as you might fear. Solar panels can even be leased, and once installed, much of your home can run on solar power. This has the potential to save you on energy costs every month for years, which could be a significant amount. Plus, renewable energy reduces harmful emissions without sacrificing modern comforts, making it beneficial for you and the environment.
2. App-Run Home Systems
Picture this ─ You’re about to head out on a much-anticipated vacation. The bags are packed, the Uber has arrived, and you’re ready to depart. On your way to the airport, you question whether you left the lights on and whether the air conditioning got turned down. There’s no time to go back, leaving you with an unsettled feeling. Those glowing lights and cranked-up AC represent a lot of energy you don’t want to waste.
Sound familiar? It doesn’t have to. Long gone are the days of needing to be physically in your home to control the HVAC system and appliances. Instead, invest in app-run appliances and mechanicals for peace of mind and the ability to have control on the go. You’ll never have to worry about forgotten lights and wasteful energy use again.
There are two routes to choose from for app-run technology. You can either buy programmed tech that has built-in app functionality. This is a great option for those wanting an all-in-one approach. The other approach is to purchase smart plugs that offer the same functionality for your existing appliances. Simply connect the smart plug to the device of your choosing, and you’ll have control in the palm of your hand.
3. High-Efficiency Electric Ranges
Leave it to the U.S. to turn something as basic as cooking into the latest front in the culture wars. While rumors that the government was coming for your gas stove were overblown, that doesn’t mean switching to electric models isn’t a good idea. First off, there are the indoor pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and methane, that gas ranges produce. A 2022 study showing that over 12% of childhood asthma cases could be attributed to gas stoves added to regulators’ existing concerns.
Then there’s the fact that gas stoves, by their very nature, are fossil fuel burners. While they don’t emit the amount of greenhouse gases that gas furnaces and water heaters do, their contribution is non-negligible. Plus, by continuing to build out the infrastructure (i.e., gas lines) that gas stoves require, their continued use stifles a renewable energy future.
If your gas stove is about to give up the ghost, consider replacing it with a high-efficiency induction cooktop. Because such cooktops heat the cooking pot directly rather than the coil, they are extremely energy-efficient. Not only that, but they’ll heat up your pans even faster than gas. Convenience for you and energy efficiency for the planet (and your utility bills) — that’s a hard combination to beat.
4. Electric Vehicles
Greener technology isn’t limited to your home, either. Electric vehicles are electricity-powered cars, trucks, and SUVs that boast a smaller carbon footprint than traditional gas-powered vehicles. That’s even when the energy required to charge them is factored in.
On top of that, EVs can save you hundreds or more per year on transportation costs due to reduced repairs and maintenance. While at-home charging can have a steep upfront price tag, the long-term cost is less than gas on average. Those savings can then be used to cover other eco-conscious tech purchases, further reducing your personal carbon footprint.
The driving experience is elevated, too. In addition to the modern technological features found in gas-powered vehicles (backup cameras, navigation systems, etc.), EVs bring one more thing to the table. They have the power to get up and go while also providing a nearly silent driving experience. Add that to the government incentives and warranties available, and EVs are vehicles to consider for sure.
Embracing Planet-Friendly Tech
No matter what technology you choose to buy and use, it’s wise to consider the potential environmental impact. From driving an EV to installing solar panels, every little bit helps. The more people who choose to get behind greener technology, the better off the planet will be.