CleanTechnica readers are no stranger to energy-saving apps for smartphones; not only have we talked about them in the past, but there are a wide variety available with just a quick search. (There’s an app for everything, actually, you just have to find it.) We’ve got a list of the top five, as rated by ThinkProgress, worth sharing:
Number Five – Energy-Efficient Profile on Facebook
Popular social media network Facebook is the target for an application which will, in essence, let you compete with your friends about who uses less energy. The application uses the network to tap into the natural human competitive streak in a rather clever way of prompting behavioral changes. It will be designed by OPower and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and isn’t available quite yet, but you can sign up for an alert at OPower’s website.
Number Four – iamgreen’s Battery Saver
This battery saving application lets you adjust a number of power-draining settings from one single screen, instead of scrambling around the innards of your phone’s menus and settings. You can toggle screen brightness and Wi-Fi, among other features. The app even has an energy quiz and energy saving tips. You can get it from the iamgreen website.
Number Three – iGo Vampire Calculator
Apple latched onto the recent vampire trendiness to remind us of the old phrase “vampire energy,” which amounts to an appliance that draws power even when it’s turned off. Culprits can be TVs or gaming systems, for example. According to Apple, that’s 10% of home energy use! The iGo Vampire Calculator will figure out how much power is being sucked up by these devices (it doesn’t account for model or appliance age, though, so take it with a grain of salt). It can be downloaded, of course, directly from Apple.
Number Two – greenMeter
Another application from Apple is the greenMeter, designed to tell you that you’re driving wrong. Habits like speeding, peeling out of an intersection, and slamming on the brakes at the last second use more gas than driving as slowly and steadily as possible (hint – coast toward red lights). Admittedly, it is incredibly, incredibly aggravating to watch people speed past you when you’re driving the speed limit or coasting up to a stop light, so if you ignore this one, I won’t hold it against you. You can also download the greenMeter from Apple to see how efficiently you’re driving.
Number One – Light Bulb Finder
Light bulbs are the source of much noise when it comes to energy efficiency – we use them all the time, we leave the lights on, and over Christmas, we decorate our houses with them. And our trees. The Light Bulb Finder helps you find bulbs you like that fit your fixtures, places your order, and calculates how long it’ll take before you’ve saved enough on electricity to make up for the cost of buying the bulb. It can be downloaded for Apple or for Android.
The List Doesn’t End Here
You can also buy energy-efficient equipment that comes with an app for your smartphone. For example, you can get energy efficient…
- …thermostats. Two popular thermostats are Nest and Ecobee. Both of them have applications that let you control your home temperature from your phone (in addition to being energy efficient, you can change the thermostat without getting off the couch – more energy saved!).
- …power strips. The UFO Power Center is a smart power strip that tells you how much power your devices are sucking up. You can turn the strip off right from your phone. Another energy efficient power strip from Energy Hub won’t tell you how much power you’re using, but you can turn off connected devices from your smartphone with it.
- …stuff in general. There are a few apps that work with a number of different appliances for a broader approach. GE’s Nucleus system, which is meant for homes with smart meters (but can be hacked if you don’t have one), will tell you how much power you’re using in realtime. The Control4 home automation system lets you dim lights, turn your TV off, or control your thermostat from your phone. It also has a hotel option, letting you do the same thing (plus housekeeping and dining options).
Do you have energy-saving apps on your phone? Plan on downloading one? Let us know which ones in the comments, below.
Charis Michelsen spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissin, Fuji Heavy, and others. Charis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. She also believes that Janeway was the best Star Trek Captain.