5 Ways to Be Green and Rely on Machines

Is technology and green living just too different to make it work? Not at all, but you do need to have the knowledge and the right gadgets in order to guarantee a seamless mating. It’s a falsity that technology by nature isn’t green, sucks up valuable resources and turns you into a zombie with no socializing skills. Instead, when used correctly, technology can be a great means to greener, better living.

Consider all the advances in technology for health as an example. There was a time when sleep apnea had little support, but today CPAP machines for the home are saving lives and helping better sleep hygiene. There are now easier, faster tests for everything from HIV/AIDS to genetics testing. Here are a few more ways you can rely on machines/technology while still embracing a greener lifestyle:

1. Turn them off, don’t let them sleep

Every little bit of energy conservation helps, and if you choose to unplug/turn off machines instead of just letting them go into sleep mode it can make a big difference. Yes, many manufacturers are perfecting sleep mode in order to save on resources, but there are even more upsides to unplugging. It makes you less reliant on technology if you have to go to the trouble to boot them up, it minimizes lights in sleeping areas (a must for sleep hygiene) and it does save money and energy in the long haul.

2. Only use machines when other methods won’t work

It’s obviously going to be better if basic sleep hygiene best practices are adopted instead of relying on a machine for mild sleep issues. Of course, if sleep apnea is present and demands technology to better your life, follow your doctor’s advice. If you think technology is taking over your life, check out these tips from WebMD before making any drastic changes. Tech is all about balance, just like everything else in life. It has its place.

3. Choose green-minded technology

There’s plenty of technology out there designed to help you live greener, from home automation apps to conserve resources to low-flush toilets. In fact, if you seek out ENERGY Star rated technology, you get the “green seal” and might even get a tax credit for all your efforts. Each year the IRS changes the rules, so check out the latest IRS tips on green incentives and find out how you can help the environment, yourself, and your bank account in the process.

4. Seek out local machinery

Shopping local isn’t just for produce, and if you support a local technology business you can add in some extra karma points. Not only are you keeping more dollars in the local economy, you’re helping to minimize transportation costs that can contribute to pollution. Plus, you might be able to work out a better deal by going local or get extra accessories as a bonus.

5. Consider time saved

One of the best ways to decide if a machine can do it better (like with laundry) or it’s better to go with traditional tactics is to ask yourself, “How much time will this save?” and “What’s my time worth?” Everyone can put a dollar amount on their minute or hour, so know where yours is. If it just financially makes sense to go with technology and you’re okay with any potential environmental impacts, your decision has been made.

There’s no rule that says technology and machinery is bad for the environment, and many times it’s helpful. Aim for a balance when relying on technology and seek out options that are eco-friendly. You’ll be surprised by how many green gadgets there are.

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Drew Hendricks is a tech, social media and environmental addict. He's written for many major publishers such as National Geographic and Technorati.

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