Green Tech trends to look forward to


Solar panels, electric cars, high-efficiency washing machines — these are the “green,” or earth-friendly, technologies that you probably see every day. But there are also many lesser-known tech devices out there designed to reverse the negative effects of human activity on the environment. And in 2015, you can expect to see some of these under-the-radar technologies entering into the mainstream, according to experts.

From apps that let you know where you can buy the most sustainably grown vegetables to remote-control windows that shut out heat on demand, here are some green technologies that could take off in 2015.

Smart Homes

Connected appliances and meters — which collectively make up part of the so-called Internet of Things — allow people to keep track of how much energy they use in their homes or offices every day, so they can develop more efficient habits, reducing their energy bills in the process.

Green apps

In 2015, consumers with these eco-conscious habits will be part of the mainstream, not part of a passing fad, according to GreenTech’s Nardi. A slew of apps will gain popularity this year that will help “green” consumers make environmentally friendly decisions, Nardi predicted. For example, Think Dirty is an app you can use in the beauty aisle or cosmetics store to compare the ingredients in different products. Just scan a product’s bar code to see whether any of its ingredients are known carcinogens, hormone disruptors or neurotoxins.

Then there’s Food Tripping, a GPS-based app that helps you find local juice bars, farmer’s markets and healthy cafes when you’re away from home. Nardi also mentioned iRecycle, an app that lets you know where you can properly dispose of just about any household item — from gas grills to old cell phone chargers.

Solar fuels

A Massachusetts-based company that harvests the energy in sunlight to create fuels such as ethanol, diesel and gasoline. In the company’s specially engineered photosynthesis process, nonpotable water is combined with microbes that produce particular fuels when exposed to sunlight and carbon dioxide.

Known as artificial photosynthesis, this method of creating fuels and chemicals could one day curb society’s need for fossil fuels.

Solar Power

Solar power has yet to take off in earnest in countries such as the United States. But all that might be about to change, according to Peters, who said that renewables might finally hit their stride in the new year.

“You’re going to continue to see improvements in the materials and technologies that go into enabling solar and wind, but I think the most exciting thing that will happen in 2015 is how renewables will fit into the bigger system — how they integrate with [the existing power] system and how they’re integrated with energy storage.”

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