Do you know what a Tweet-a-Watt is? You probably don’t, and neither did I before I attended the Greener Gadgets Conference in NYC last week.
Before I get to what a Tweet-a-Watt is (gotta love that name), let’s fill you in about the Greener Gadgets Conference. Jill Fehrenbacher, the founder of the popular green design blog, Inhabitat, along with the Consumer Electronics Association , Marc Alt + Partners and Core77 design magazine, gathered inventors, designers, electronic industry leaders and over 400 attendees to discuss aligning the consumer-electronics industry to creating eco-friendly products.
I would not consider myself a gadget geek. Not being the techiest blogger in the bunch, I am generally attracted to home products that are on the simple side and of the anti-gadget variety. I must confess that I was not immune to the lore of these great green gadgets, and with the pageantry of a panel of heavy hitters from the green world.
More importantly, as I got knee deep in the green trenches at Greener Gadgets, it was exciting because the panel discussions–”Measuring Your Hue of Green,” “Green Design for Good” and “Closing the Loop in Cradle to Cradle”–filled the green spectrum from personal responsibility for energy consumption to how companies such as Dell and Panasonic track their carbon footprint. The Greener Gadgets Conference brought to light how sustainable design can improve people’s lives.
Here were some of the highlights and offerings from Greener Gadgets:
• People who are designing home products must ask themselves, “Is this gadget an heirloom product that can last 100 years?” If so, product lifecycles are more sustainable and thus will decrease consumption.
• In regard to consumption, the keynote speaker Saul Griffith said, “Measure what is measurable, make measurable what is not.”
• Design products with a conscience about consequences.
• Video conferencing from home offices will be a big trend.
• Intel corporation is the largest producer of green energy using renewable power such as wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower.
• Soon batteries will hit the market that can last long and can be safely disposed of because the materials are derived from the basic elements of the Earth. There is nothing inside a Fuji EnviroMAX battery that will harm the environment if it is disposed of through normal waste systems.
• Keep track of your personal home footprint.
• Products need to be transparent in regard to safety and energy consumption.
• Sustainability should be the ethos for design.
• The Design competition awards were given to FOUR green gadgets. Some were for the home, the community or for personal use. All were cool. The winner was a Tweet-a-Watt.
Oh, you’re still wondering what Tweet-a-Watt is? It is a power meter that “tweets” daily kilowatts consumed to the user’s Twitter account. By sharing these numbers on a service like Twitter, users can compete for the lowest numbers and also see how they’re doing compared to their friends and followers. Tweet-a-Watt was created by Philip Torrone of MAKE magazine and colleagues, who have put the plans online for free and put the technology into the public domain for anyone to use and build upon. This keeps households accountable for their daily usage and motivates for a greener lifestyle.
Check out all the entries of the Greener Gadgets Contest here.
What is your favorite gadget? Is it green?
Ronnie Citron-Fink lives in New York with her husband, two children (when they come home to the nest), two dogs and a cat. Ronnie is a teacher and a writer. She has been a contributing writer for Family Fun magazine. She currently writes articles about education and home design. Her writings are in four books including Family Fun Home and Some Delights of the Hudson Valley.