(Image: © Sergey Nivens | Shutterstock.com)
Solar power panels, electric cars, high-efficiency washers — they are the «green,» or earth-friendly, each day technologies that you almost certainly see. But additionally, there are many lesser-known tech devices out there made to reverse the unwanted effects of human activity on the surroundings. And in 2015, you will probably see a few of these under-the-radar technologies getting into the mainstream, according to experts.
The most recent wave of green technologies is targeted at the average, conscious person environmentally, and features services and products that will give consumers greater control over the carbon footprints of these tech devices. From applications that inform you where one can choose the most sustainably grown vegetables to remote-control windows that shut out heat on demand, are some green technologies that could remove in 2015 here.
Being green is simpler when from your electric meter to your refrigerator is linked to the web. Connected appliances and meters — which collectively constitute portion of the so-called Internet of Things — allow visitors to keep an eye on just how much energy they use within their homes or offices each day, to allow them to develop better habits, reducing their energy bills along the way. [Top 10 Emerging Environmental Technologies]
Smart thermostats, like Nest, the day remember your preferred temperatures and automatically adapt to your requirements throughout. (Image credit: Nest)
Smart-home technologies aren’t new, year however they might finally find their niche in the new, said Michael Nardi, president of GreenTech Consulting, an Indiana-based company that delivers technology and clean-energy consulting to businesses. In 2015, both home and companies will rely more heavily on Internet-connected products such as for example smart thermostats, Nardi told Live Science.
Smart thermostats «remember» the temperatures you like and may sense if you are not around and can automatically modify the climate in your house to save lots of energy. And since the devices are Wi-Fi-connected, they can be managed remotely from a tablet or smartphone.
Smarter property owners
Maximizing the energy efficiency of your house with smart technologies is an advisable endeavor, but despite having data about your energy use at hand, becoming better may be easier in theory, said Mark Peters, the associate lab director at Argonne National Laboratory’s energy and global security directorate. That is why Peters predicts that, as more folks jump on the web of Things bandwagon, new technologies may also arise to create sense of the info collected from Internet-connected products.
BuildingOS lets business and facility owners track and analyze all the components that donate to the efficiency of their properties. (Image credit: Lucid Design Group)
«As you begin to see a lot more smart [products] online, you begin to handle an immense amount of data that needs to be managed, and you must empower the buyer in order to take benefit of this data,» Peters told Live Science. Which means combining advanced computing with user-friendly interfaces, he added.
That’s specifically what products like Lucid Design Group’s new BuildingOS try to do. This cloud-based application gives users the various tools they have to analyze the efficiency of any building. Made with offices at heart, not homes, BuildingOS offers a central hub where in fact the data from most of a building’s systems (e.g. water, electric, gas, solar powered energy) could be processed and understood. If the professionals are correct, you will likely see many similar applications emerge for property owners in the brand new year.
A couple of years ago, eating local, organic produce or boycotting shampoos containing parabens may have been considered trendy. However in 2015, consumers with these eco-conscious habits will participate the mainstream, not part of a passing fad, according to GreenTech’s Nardi.
A slew of applications will gain popularity this season that will assist «green» consumers make green decisions, Nardi predicted. For instance, Think Dirty can be an application you may use in the wonder aisle or cosmetics store to compare the ingredients in various products. Just scan a product’s bar code to see whether some of its ingredients are known carcinogens, hormone neurotoxins or disruptors.
Then there’s Food Tripping, a GPS-based application that can help you find local juice bars, farmer’s markets and healthy cafes if you are abroad. Nardi mentioned iRecycle also, an application that tells you where one can properly get rid of virtually any household item — from gas grills to old cellular phone chargers.
Joule runs on the process referred to as artificial photosynthesis to convert water and skin tightening and into fuel. (Image credit: Joule Unlimited)
Not absolutely all of the green technologies because of remove in 2015 derive from computing power. A few of them operate on a mature power source: sunlight.
Joule is a Massachusetts-based company that harvests the energy in sunlight to create fuels such as for example ethanol, gasoline and diesel. In the business’s specifically engineered photosynthesis process, nonpotable water is coupled with microbes that produce particular fuels when subjected to carbon and sunlight dioxide.
Referred to as artificial photosynthesis, this technique of fabricating fuels and chemicals could 1 day curb society’s dependence on fossil fuels. It is also an activity that demonstrates the countless potential uses of solar technology, according to Peters.
«I believe there’s really exciting things going on in this area, especially on the science side, which will make progress in 2015,» Peters said. However, it does take a while because of this green technology to be commercialized, he added. So don’t expect your gasoline to result from a solar technology plant anytime this season.
Solar gets serious
Harvesting sunlight to create fuels is a reasonably new idea, but harvesting sunlight to create electricity isn’t. But even though it’s abundant and green, solar powered energy has yet to remove in earnest in countries like the USA. But all that could be going to change, according to Peters, who said that renewables might finally hit their stride in the brand new year.
«You are going to continue steadily to see improvements in the materials and technologies that get into enabling solar and wind, but I believe the most exciting thing that may happen in 2015 is how renewables will match the larger system — how they integrate with [the existing power] system and how they’re integrated with energy storage.»
Peters and his colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory are looking past traditional energy-storage solutions (i.e., batteries) to options better fitted to storing solar powered energy and releasing it in to the power grid. Among these options may be the flow battery, where anodes created from solid materials are replaced with liquid materials. Such batteries are inexpensive relatively. They’re also long-lasting and safe, which will make them good applicants for use with a huge power grid.
Follow Elizabeth Palermo @techEpalermo. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Initial article on Live Science.