Even if you aren’t a gizmo and gadget person, some of the energy- and resource-saving inventions on the market now are truly inspired and helpful. I was recently at a Green Summit festival in Phoenix and saw a dehumidifier that purifies the water gathered from the air for drinking, for example. And Real Goods catalog offers a hand-cranked blender that I actually think might work better than an electric. I am not a geek, nor am I much of a shopper, but these items look actually useful and will save precious resources. (I leave energy-efficient light bulbs and low-flow everything out of this list because I am assuming you all have them already.) So here is my top 10 list:
1. Programmable thermostats.
The Home Energy Saver Audit showed me that one Energy Star-labeled programmable thermostat will give me a 312 percent return on my investment of $70.
2. Sensor faucet for the home (around $30).
No more guilt when you brush your teeth and don’t turn off the water while brushing! These are the same type you see in airport and other public bathrooms, finally available for the home.
3. Microfiber cloths.
Save water by dusting and cleaning using microfiber cloths. They are reusable, designed to clean, and are color-coded to avoid cross-contamination.
4. Sensor lights.
While these are especially perfect for the front yard, porch, and walkways, I think they work well inside, too, especially for rooms such as the kitchen that get a lot of traffic; most of us tend to leave the lights on in such rooms.
5. Solar charger for all your small electronics.
Not only is it easy to charge your cell phone, iPod, etc., using a solar charger, but you can easily find solar-powered media players and radios.
6. Solar Christmas tree icicles.
The ones I have seen are pretty and use bright, high-efficiency LEDs, light emitting diodes, the most promising of the solar lighting options.
7. Hand-cranked blender.
As I mentioned above, I think this will be less work than the electric blender. Am I alone when using a blender to have to frequently stop the blender, take off the top, peer in, and stir up the content?
8. Purified water from dehumidifier.
These are still expensive, let me warn you ($2,500), but so cool an idea I can’t wait until their price comes down. The dehumidifier pulls the water out of the air, sends it through a filtration system, and provides it in an attractive dispenser for drinking.
9. Water purifying wand.
Looking a lot like a pen, you just swirl the wand in a glass of suspect water. The wand releases negative ions which clears the water for drinking.
10. Static Eliminator Chemical-Free Dryer Sheets
Eschew chemical dryer sheets forever using these Static Eliminators. They can be used 500 times, or three of more years for most of us who just do one load a week.