4 companies producing energy-saving innovations
In this modern day and age, new innovations are constantly being rolled out and some of the technology being designed at present can help you to save energy around the home as well as at work.
Here are a few of the latest gadgets available - as well as being cool new toys, they may also be able to help you save on your electricity prices.
This technology giant changed the face of electronics forever with the introduction of the iPod and iPhone. It is also dedicated to reducing its global greenhouse gas emissions.
As a result, the company designs products to be as energy efficient as possible. Apple can claim to have reduced the average amount of power consumed by their devices by around 40 per cent since 2008.
Innovations such as the design of adaptors that use very little power when not in use and making the hardware and software work together to conserve energy have gone a long way.
Apple claim to have made notebooks 2.9 times as energy efficient as the standard required by the energy star specification and their desktop computers outdo this, being 7.6 times as efficient.
The tech company has conquered energy efficiency with a three-prong attack - using more energy efficient power supplies, components that require less power and power management software.
Here are a few of their top innovations.
The ambient light sensor intelligently adjusts the display brightness of your device depending on the environment. This means the screen will be automatically brighter in the dark, but when you're in the sun and don't need any extra power, the screen will be darker, saving power.
Apple devices can also wake on demand, which means you can access any files on your devices using Bonjour Sleep Proxy or Time Capsule without disrupting the sleep function. Once the item has been shared, your Mac will then go back to sleep, saving energy.
The power supply has been improved to make it more energy efficient, so less power is wasted bringing electricity to your computer when it is plugged into the wall. Apple power adapters only draw 30 milliwatts when plugged in. To put this in perspective, this is 0.05 per cent of the electricity drawn to power a household 60 watt light bulb.
Not to be outdone by the competition, Microsoft has also introduced innovations designed to green their technology and help other individuals and business clients alike reduce their environmental impact - this has a flow-on effect where electricity prices are concerned.
Desktop computer energy consumption has been reduced by 27 per cent since 2007 when the system centre configuration Manager 2007 R3 and other power management controls were introduced.
Microsoft says this will provide a saving of somewhere between US$12 - 14 (AU$13 - 15) per computer over the course of a year.
Fridges are another household item that can draw plenty of electricity from the grid. Panasonic have pioneered the econavi system of intelligent sensors that can detect your usage patterns.
It automatically adjusts the energy used to ensure the fridge is always running efficiently - ensuring you receive a lower power bill.
This is achieved through four sensors. One is placed in the door to measure the amount of times the door is opened and closed, another measures the amount of light in the room and when these are turned off, the sensor judges that the fridge is not being used.
An internal temperature sensor can detect how cool or warm the fridge is and monitors the cooling power accordingly. It monitors your usage, so after breakfast when everyone has left the house, its energy saving operation switches on. Once everyone is home and likely to check in the fridge for dinner ingredients, its thorough cooling power is turned back on.
With a determination to increase efficiency, Siemens have reduced consumption in all of its categories by over half in the last 15 years while still being able to improve performance and ease of use.
Their range of dishwashers, for example, feature innovative technology to help you save on water and electricity prices.
The speedMatic dishwasher only uses around 12.8 litres of water to wash 15 place settings - to wash by hand you would use around 60 litres per 14 place settings, according to Siemens.
These machines feature a hydroDry system which uses the heat generated in the main wash cycle to pre-heat water to be used in the rinse cycle which saves energy.
Siemens technology can also help you see savings in the kitchen. A combination of using their products as well as employing energy saving tips when cooking and baking can help you save up to 30 per cent on your electricity bills.
Make sure you keep an eye out for all these latest innovations and see if any can help you cut down your power use.
Posted by Tim Wolfenden.