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Published on December 24th, 2018 | by Steve Hanley


5 Gifts To Put Under Your CleanTechnica Christmas Tree

December 24th, 2018 by  

Hey, CleanTechnica readers. Are you searching for a last-minute Christmas gift for your significant other (or perhaps yourself)? Here’s a list of items that will gladden the heart of any sustainability advocate. Of course, given the timing, you’ll have to save a picture of anything you order here, print it out, and put it under the tree with a message that Santa will be a bit late this year.

Smart EV Chargers

smart ev charger

We can’t all park a new Tesla under the tree, but maybe a smart EV charger would fit. The choices are almost limitless, but the objective here is a charger that is connected to the internet so you can control it from anywhere in the world using an app on your smartphone. eMotorWerks has taken things one step further with JuiceNet Green, a charging protocol that limits charging when the available energy supply in your area is relying on fossil fuels but maximizes charging when renewable energy is available.

ChargePoint and EVBox also offer a wide assortment of smart chargers that can not only save you money by charging when rates are lowest, but also interface with your electric car to pre-cool it in hot weather or pre-heat it in cold weather. Many ChargePoint models can now be controlled using Amazon’s Alexa technology.

Portable Solar Panels

portable solar panel

Maybe you don’t have a rooftop solar system yet, but you can still use the power of the sun to help you enjoy an off-grid experience while camping or to keep a few critical pieces of electronic gear functioning during a power outage. Many portable solar panels are smaller and lighter than traditional panels. That’s good for storing them and moving them around when you need to, but they also produce less electricity — typically about 100 watts.

Both Lowe’s and Home Depot sell portable solar panel kits. Another place you might want to check out is EarthTech Products, which carries a full line of folding solar panels, batteries, and solar generators for keeping you powered up when away from home or during emergencies.

Plug And Play Solar carries a line of 265 watt solar panels that you can be plugged directly into any conventional wall socket in your home. They may not be the ideal situation but for renters they offer the convenience of being able to unplug them and take them with you when you move to a different apartment.

Vegan & Vegetarian Cookbooks

Oh, my. 10 years ago, there were about three such cookbooks in the world. Today there are hundreds. We are what we eat and today many environmentally conscious people are eating far less meat and dairy than they did just a short time ago. Vegan and vegetarian diets are no longer for those on the fringe of culinary culture. They are rapidly  becoming mainstream.

The editors of Epicurious have put together a list of 9 vegetarian cookbooks they recommend highly. Vegan.com weighs in with its 5 top vegan cookbook choices, including one for skeptics entitled “But I Could Never Go Vegan!”

CleanTechnica’s own Kyle Field recommends checking out the vegetarian and vegan foods available at Trader Joe’s. He recommends their soy sausage, cauliflower crumble, and soy chorizo. Any of them would make great stocking stuffers.

Solar Hot Water Heater

Some people believe if you have to choose between rooftop solar and a solar hot water heater, the latter is the better choice when it comes to getting the maximum return on your investment. We spend a lot of money to make domestic hot water. A solar hot water system uses sunlight to heat water. Some systems use pumps to circulate the water, others use a passive system that relies on the fact that hot water is lighter than cold water and will circulate to the top of a storage tank — eventually.

In climates where freezing is not an issue, water is circulated directly to the roof. Where freezing is an issue, a glycol-like fluid is channeled to the roof where it is heated before being pumped to a heat exchanger inside the house. There it warms the domestic hot water. Often the stored hot water is piped through a conventional water heater which boosts it to 160º F or more.

The temperature of water coming into the home is usually about 45 degrees, which means the conventional heating equipment has to raise it by more than 100 degrees. The water stored in the tank of a solar hot water system is already heated to 120 degrees or more, meaning the conventional heater has to do less work, which saves fuel. For a full discussion about solar hot water systems, visit the Department of Energy website.

CleanTechnica Swag

Still not sure what to give that Clean Techie in your family? How about a cool T shirt, sweat shirt, hat, or mug from the CleanTechnica store? What a perfect way to spread the word about our website and support our mission. Someone you know would love one of these first quality items with cool graphics that support green technology.

We even have the perfect gift for your favorite uncle who sits home and watches Faux News all day. Nothing says love like an understated T-shirt that pays homage to the current president. Order yours today!

Fake President T Shirt


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About the Author

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.

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