Green Tech: What It Is and How It Impacts You

You're probably already using it, but you can do more

Green technology, sometimes called sustainable technology, environmental technology, or clean technology, is what's going to help our planet (and ourselves) continue thriving long into the future.

What Is Green Technology?

Green technology is any technology that is environmentally friendly. It takes into account the environment and is rooted in environmental science. But it goes even further. Green technology is how technology is designed to have a better impact on the world around you.

For example, think of energy efficiency, renewable resources, and recycling. These are all part of green technology and all elements in producing green products, or products designed to be environmentally friendly.

The need for green technology has never been more apparent than it is today. Climate change has brought about melting icecaps which mean rising sea levels; unpredictable weather patterns which mean more droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes than we've seen in the past; and other dangerous conditions.

Green technology might not be able to fix all those problems, but it can certainly help by providing products gentler on the environment and encouraging behaviors kinder to the planet.

Green tech is typically only concerned with one aspect of sustainable technology: environmental health. Sustainable tech is a larger term that involves economic, social, and environmental issues.

Green Technology Examples

You may not know it, but you probably are already using some form of green technology in your daily life. Here are a few examples of green tech you may be familiar with:

  • Electric Vehicles: Elon Musk is on to something with Tesla. Electric vehicles are more environmentally friendly. What makes these vehicles green tech is that they don't run on fossil fuel and have zero emissions, which is easier on the environment.
  • Programmable Thermostats: You thought the Nest thermostat was just a cool gadget, didn't you? Programmable thermostats are green tech used to schedule interior environmental changes (keeping your home cool or warm), so you're not wasting energy while you're not home. Most also have features to let you know what the most environmentally friendly settings are.
  • Solar Panels: Solar panels collect energy from the sun that can be stored and redistributed as needed, and many people have installed them as a means of reducing the cost of powering their homes. In some areas, like Hawaii, solar panels are a significant contributor to the islands' power stores.
  • LED Lights: That LED bulb you installed in the lamp does more than put off light. It also saves you, and the environment, from using fossil fuels to light your surroundings. And intelligent LED lights can be programmed or controlled from a distance, so if you forget to turn the lights out when you leave, you can do it from your smartphone at work.
  • Wind Energy: Much like solar panels, wind energy can reduce the need for more traditional power methods, which reduces the carbon released into the air. Even residential windmills can contribute to the energy grid, but the most common form you'll see this in is wind farms and offshore wind turbines.
  • Vertical Farming: Have you ever considered how much farmland is used in the U.S. alone? What if that land could be allowed to return to nature, and our crops could be grown indoors? It's happening. Vertical farming will enable farmers to grow crops using hydroponics, inside and in much less space than an outdoor farm requires. As an added benefit, vertical agriculture reduces the amount of water used and the amount of water contamination created by traditional farming methods.

How Green Tech Impacts You

You may already use far more green technology than you realize, and that's a good thing. Alec Jahnke, Sales Engineer at Digi International, says cities and municipalities around the world continue to make wise investments in green technology for two crucial reasons.

"First, technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) can transform the health and vitality of neighborhoods and the citizens who live there. Sophisticated IoT sensors and communication devices can bring new efficiencies to processes that otherwise rely on fossil fuels, consume other natural resources, and needlessly expand our carbon footprint," he explains.

Equally compelling, he says, are that IoT technologies also put the “green” in green tech by creating significant cost advantages in almost every imaginable way – from precision agriculture, electric cars, and alternative energy facilities to “smart cities” initiatives such as optimized LED streetlights and traffic optimization.

"At a time when budgets at all levels of government are under post-pandemic pressures, IoT reduces costs while improving our ecofootprint and improving the quality of life," says Jahnke.

You'll see more green tech going forward, and without really trying, you're likely to take on habits better for our environment by taking even the smallest of steps. It's also good to start consciously thinking about what you can do to help the planet (and preserve your way of life). It's easy to get started!

Here are some ideas:

Even one step forward can help the planet. What are you waiting for?

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