By David Dodge & Dylan Thompson
We at Green Energy Futures are all about conservation and efficiency but we’re also techno geeks who love the opportunity to share cool, innovative energy saving ideas. With that spirit in mind, here’s a list of practical and extravagant green gifts for the tech lover on your list.
A bright idea!
First up, the Hue lighting system by Phillips. This nifty little number is more than just your typical light bulb.
For starters, it can change colours! The multi-colour starter kit comes with three bulbs that all respond to a smart phone app. You can change the colour to suit your mood or any occasion, with another app you can even animate your lights to music.
The app also allows you to pre-set programs. Perhaps you want a bit of mood lighting in the evening? Hue can do that. Best of all, you can set automatic off times so you don’t have to waste time telling the kids to “turn off those dang lights!”
You can even add your own photo from your favourite vacation spot and create a mood using the colours in the photo.
In Canada, you can get a Hue lighting system at Best Buy, London Drugs, Home Depot, Amazon, or the Apple Store. A multi-colour Hue system starts at around $199, which includes three bulbs and a wireless bridge.
The gift of green energy
Next, for those environmentalists on a budget, you can give the gift of renewable energy!
No, we’re not saying you should buy someone solar modules (although kudos if that’s your plan). We’re talking about options for buying renewable power for those who aren’t able to get a solar array on their roof.
Many electricity providers allow you to specify where your power comes from. For example, you can request that all your power come from local solar producers. This will cost you about 33 cents per day, and you can create more demand for renewable energy and get to tell your friends, “I’m saving the planet.”
So stick $15 in someone’s stocking for each month you want to support and say, “greening your power is on me.”
Robot lawn mower
At this time of year, lawn maintenance is probably the furthest thing from your mind. But before long, spring will be here and the people on your gift list will push their ratty old, emissions-spewing mower around around crying, “isn’t there a better way?!”
Fear not, lawn care enthusiast, the future is here and it’s a robot.
Enter the Automower by Husqvarna, an electric rechargeable robot lawnmower that takes the work out of maintaining that A+ lawn. The Automower is powered by electricity so there’s no gas to buy or long cords to untangle. It cuts your lawn while you rest in the hammock and it even parks itself in the charging station.
It’s a mulching mower, so there’s no bags to fill or dump. Compared to a gas mower, it’s relatively quiet. While you’re sipping daiquiris and watching it do its thing, the noise will be barely louder than a typical suburban street. Of course, this kind of sci-fi convenience doesn’t come cheap. The Automower starts at about $2,000 American.
A new car!
The electric car industry is really taking off and it has got nowhere to go but up.
Last year, Ford announced plans to invest $4.5 billion into 13 new EV models that it hopes. They hope to have them to market by 2020. Toyota CEO and president Akio Toyoda, grandson of Kiichiro Toyoda, the man who started the Toyota auto company, has recently been announced as leader for the company’s EV division. When the boss is getting involved, you know things are serious.
Of course, there’s already plenty of great electric cars on the market. The best-selling EV in Alberta is the Tesla Model S, which costs around $100,000, but has a range of 450 KM and can go from zero to sixty in under three seconds. Electricity vehicles are expensive to buy, but cheap to operate. They get the equivalent of more than 100 miles per gallon. The second best seller in Alberta is the Chevy Volt, an electric car with a gas-powered generator on board to help it get 600 kilometer of range when you need it. Volts sell for about $43,000.
For a modestly-priced EV, look no further than the best-selling EV in North America, the Nissan Leaf. It starts at around $32,000 and can go 133 kilomters on a single charge.
We had some fun coming up with our no-holds-barred list, but of course there are many other great ideas for green energy gifts such as: LED lights, smart thermostats, watt meters to find the power vampires in your home, solar chargers for phones and devices. Remember even super practical gifts such as programmable plugins can control your fish tank light, the Christmas lights, and pretty much anything in the home.
We hope we have inspired you to think of a few gifts that might be cool to give and help transition us all to cleaner energy at the same time.