Mar 19, 2009

NPR story: Go Green for students

NPR story about students given cellphones to track the carbon footprint of their commute. The students like it because they can do something about climate change. On the other hand, some comments from viewers on the web expressed concern about the sustainability of cellphone - the product. My take is it is not enough reason to not do mobile apps that promote sustainability. We all use cellphone as a necessary part of modern life so why not make it do something useful for the environment too?

Mar 8, 2009

NYTimes article on apps for more efficient travel / commute

This NYTimes article talks about various apps that are useful for commute / travel, but the following 3 paragraphs touch specifically on sustainability apps in this realm.

"For those looking to decrease rather than increase their carbon footprint, there are several car-related applications that can help. Ecorio is a free program written for Google Android-based smartphones, the first of which is the G1 from T-Mobile. The application will trace your travels and, depending on your mode of transport (Hummer or subway?), keep a running tally of your carbon footprint. By tapping into Google Transit, the program can also suggest the most efficient commuting routes (less time in traffic translates into fewer carbon emissions) and in some locales like San Francisco it offers carpooling information.

For iPhone owners, another eco-friendly but less ambitious program is greenMeter ($5.99). It can estimate the number of barrels of oil your car is consuming and produce graphs illustrating fuel economy at different speeds and rates of acceleration. (As you might expect, a lighter foot will produce better fuel efficiency.) For 99 cents there’s also AccuFuel for iPhone hypermilers who mainly just want to track fuel efficiency.

Keeping up with maintenance can also help extend efficiency — and the life of your vehicle. Gas Cubby ($4.99 for the iPhone) is a maintenance and mileage program that offers service reminders and can store vehicle records that can be exported to Excel spreadsheets."

I am not planning to review the paid iPhone apps since I am not buying apps at the moment (I'm on a student budget... sorry). But if you use it, let us know how it goes for you. Do the iPhone apps need the 3G iPhone to work effectively? Maybe when I get my hand on an Android, I'll review the Ecorio. It sounds like a nice integrated app.