Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd. What are you doing to play your part and be eco-friendly?
Smartphone apps can be extremely helpful when it comes to monitoring your energy usage and carbon footprint. Some can even help you reduce your energy emissions and be more environmentally conscious. So, if you’ve been a little guilty of wasting energy or simply not bothering to track your personal impact on the environment, the six apps below can help you get on the right track.
Wiser Home (iOS and Android, Free)
Wiser Home is a system for homeowners which allows you to change your energy usage depending on the circumstances around your home. Keep track of factors like solar power, thermostats and overall energy usage while also keeping tabs on your budget. For those who want to tailor their energy usage to be more environmentally friendly, Wiser Home provides an accurate way to do so.
Additionally, Wiser Home was designed with a ripple effect in mind: By using this app, you’re contributing to a larger movement that helps electricity providers all over the country improve the efficiency of the grid at large. How’s that for making a difference?
Download: Wiser Home for iOS | Android
FuelGood (iOS and Android, Free)
Energy Saving Trust, the Scotland-based organization that developed FuelGood, estimates that the average driver can save up to two months’ worth of fuel every year by driving more efficiently. The FuelGood app is designed to get you there.
You may not be in a place to make major lifestyle changes through purchases – such as investing in a new electric car – but by changing your personal driving habits, you can actually make a huge difference.
When you input your car type, age and engine size, FuelGood will respond with an estimate of how much fuel you can save by developing good habits, which are listed in the Tips section. (To find even more driving apps, check out this list of ones that can help you save gas money.)
Download: FuelGood for iOS | Android
CarbonDiem (Android and BlackBerry, Free)
Did you know that travel produces one-third of the entire world’s carbon emissions? Every type of transit uses energy – and some types have a much larger carbon footprint than others.
CarbonDiem is an app designed to keep tabs on all those types of movements so you can track your own personal carbon footprint, and then adjust it as necessary.
The app detects when you are traveling by road and calculates the emissions of the vehicle you’re traveling in. You can customize the calculations to be more accurate by specifying if you’re traveling by bus, car, or motorcycle.
For the health-conscious, CarbonDiem also shows how many calories you burn with each type of transport. You don’t need to input what type of transit you’re on. Based on your movements, CarbonDiem will figure out whether you’re traveling by train, metro, air, car or by foot.
There is one catch: CarbonDiem is only fully functional in Europe. However, everyone else can still use the app for air and road travel.
Download: CarbonDiem for Android | Blackberry (via email link or QR Code)
Energy Tracker (iOS, $0.99)
Did you know that electricity rates have almost doubled in the last 15 years? Energy Tracker allows you to understand your energy consumption habits based on gas, water, and electricity usage. The more you learn about your own habits, the more motivated you’ll be to change them.
For the forgetful among us, you can set up an alarm reminder so you never forget to input your daily energy consumption.
If the smartphone interface isn’t enough for you, feel free to export your measurement data to your desktop computer to get a more in-depth sense of how much energy you use.
Tracking your consumption is the first step to understanding the areas where you need to focus on saving energy. With this app, you can begin developing a better sense of where your energy usage is impacting the environment most.
Download: Energy Tracker for iOS
CodeGreen Energy (iOS and Android, Free)
Energy Star® is the national standard when it comes to measuring energy efficiency of home and commercial appliances (like your computer), as well as for buildings themselves.
CodeGreen Energy was developed to support homeowners, real estate professionals, property owners and even tenants. You can use the app to access Energy Star information about thousands of buildings, especially in major cities like New York, Seattle, Austin and San Francisco, which are all places that have emphasized the need for improved energy scores.
When you know how your building’s energy score compares to the scores of those around you, you’ll get a sense of your overall energy efficiency – as well as how you can improve it. CodeGreen Energy will also allow you to ensure that your building is in compliance with local and national standards for energy laws.
Download: CodeGreen Energy for iOS and Android
Light Bulb Finder (iOS and Android, Free)
Energy-efficient lighting is all the rage, and for good reason – it’s a small but actionable way to make a difference in your home. Not only do energy-efficient bulbs consume less energy, but they’re also made to last 10 years or more.
Still, if you live in a home with a lot of different light fixtures, it can be hard to find the right bulb for each one. Light Bulb Finder solves that problem in a hurry, making it easy to switch from standard to energy-efficient lighting.
The app recommends bulbs based on quality, financial payback and environmental impact. It will point you in the direction of local retailers or allow you to buy new bulbs online through the app – a concrete way to make a difference in your carbon footprint with very little effort.
Download: Light Bulb Finer for iOS and Android
Saving energy isn’t just about keeping more money in your back pocket. A little goes a long way in helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions and in minimizing your own carbon footprint. If you need a little technological boost to get you there, an app or two – or six – can help.
What other apps do you use to save energy and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle? Tell us in the comments section below!
Image Credit: Viktor Hanacek via PicJumbo