Lists of gadgets pop-up frequently highlighting the best headphones, speakers and cameras. But how about buying gadgets that do good rather than just add to the clutter?
There are now a fantastic range of gadgets that are not only useful but cool, trendy and crucially benefit the Planet:
It is safe to say the world is rapidly warming. Over 1 degrees so far. The Government’s response to the low-carbon, global pledge bizarrely, is to support fracking and fossil fuels and ditch measures to support clean energy and energy conservation.
However, individuals can be part of the unstoppable, third industrial revolution by purchasing gadgets that do good: Cut carbon, cut pollution, and often save money in the mix. So below are a few ideas to start off with from the very affordable to the big ticket items such as solar panels.
Most people wish to lose a bit of weight and be healthier. However, for most people the fitness pledge is difficult. But there is always a need to get from A to B. The majority of our journeys are less than 3 miles and thus, the magical answer to congestion, air pollution and wobbly middles is a good, old-fashioned bike.
However, since GB’s phenomenal success at international cycling the use of technology to improve performance has, like London fashion week, trickled down to the high-street so bikes are lighter than ever with high spec components to ensure a fast, smooth ride.
And you’ll be joining a growing trend. The rise of mamils - middle aged men in lycra – is well documented but the steepest uptake in cycling is seen amongst women. Cycling, can save time, help you stay fit and avoid paying out for fuel, parking and occasional fines. The other plus side is a great range of waterproof clothes as well as a folding eco-helmet all mean that you can still look good in the mix. So save money on gym membership and upgrade your bike instead.
For those who think this is a step too far; the electric bike can take you effortlessly up to 20mph without breaking a sweat. You’ll be beating the traffic and cutting your carbon footprint.
Ditch the Diesel
Electric and hybrid cars are now so advanced there is no need to worry about range or style. 1% of new car sales across Europe and China are now electric and very soon they will become the norm.
Toyota Prius won green car of the year [by Auto Express] with the BMW i3 a close second. At 94 mpg, the Prius would save motorists money on fuel, and with electric cars a full charge can cost just £2. There is a considerable Government grant to buy electric cars and because they don’t produce exhaust fumes they help to improve your air quality and consequently people’s health.
For those with a smaller budget, there is a vibrant second-hand market developing due to tech follower’s rushing to buy the latest models. A colleague who drove a 2.5 tonne Range Rover to work every day is now a proud owner of a Nissan Leaf, which he bought for just £5k!
Birds and the Bees
Have you noticed that one week it is freezing and the next is so mild you can almost get away with no heating? The weather is more and more unpredictable due to global warming so the ability to control heating in your home in a convenient, flexible way is a must, instead of that white programmer on your wall no one really knows how to use.
Strangely named the Hive (run by British Gas) and the Nest (owned by Google) offer just that; a wireless thermostat that looks good and is simple-to-use, which means you never arrive home to a cold house. You could easily earn your money back through lower energy bills plus you can knowledgably talk about the ‘Internet of Things’.
Fantastic kettles that only heat water to the temperature required for that perfect coffee or herbal tea save time, energy and money and helps avoid scolded tongues. Ranges include KitchenAid, De’Longhi and Sage etc.
Burning wood is good
So whilst cavemen did this, if you live in rural areas, reliant on lpg or oil, a wood fuel stove is a fantastic, way to ensure your home is cosy and warm whilst also being good for the planet. They look sleek, burn dry logs at great temperatures and the Stove Industry Association and Which both produce guides on to how to choose a stove that suits you. Just check you don’t live in a clean air zone.
Power from the Sun
If you have a south-facing roof then energy from the sun is the best gadget ever. Discussing solar panels in winter may seem strange but efficiencies keep improving and the costs of panels keep reducing so if you really want a great gadget then hot water heating or electricity from the sun is a great idea.
If you fancy going further you can buy a battery or use 2-4-1 with an electric car.
Let there be Light
As well as hosting the most incredible, easy to use, on-line shopping platform for brand new and pre-loved clothes, Oxfam’s website can arrange for a solar lantern to go to folks abroad with no access to electricity. Costing £32 this is a great gadget gift for someone who has it all.
Wrapping up Warm Indoors
Secondary glazing is available from just £6 a roll and can make such a huge difference if you live in a home with single glazed, draughty windows. You literally stick the film around the window frame and then blast your hair-dryer across it to smooth out any wrinkles. DIY everyone can do.
Whilst climate change sometimes feels too big for us to make a difference, investing wisely in good gadgets, can literally make the world a better place and leave you feeling a little bit smug, healthier and better off.