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High-Tech Ways to Go Green at Home

Advanced sensors and incentives can trim electricity, water, and gas use at home and boost recycling.

High-Tech Ways to Go Green at Home

Go With the Flow A showerhead-flow sensor can provide direct feedback on your water and energy use, spurring a shorter shower. A system such as IBM's pilot project in Washington State lets a utility charge you more for hot water during peak times.

Touch That Dial Agilewaves' Resource Monitor has a touch-screen interface that is similar to a very fancy thermostat. Homeowners install a network of sensors to track usage down to individual pipes and electrical outlets; the sensors are integrated into a data system that lets you monitor usage in real time.

High-Tech Ways to Go Green at Home
infographic by Jason Lee

One Person's Trash Customers log on to to see how much they recycled, how many reward points their refuse is worth, and how their carbon footprint is affected. Some towns using RecycleBank have more than doubled their recycling rates by weight — diverting waste from landfills and conserving tons of valuable raw materials. 

The Tell-Tale Arm RecycleBank outfits each home in a partner city with a special recycling bin that has a radio-frequency-identification (RFID) tag embedded in it. On trash day, a robot arm on the garbage truck weighs how much material is recycled, and then an onboard computer relays that info wirelessly to RecycleBank headquarters.

A version of this article appeared in the November 2008 issue of Fast Company magazine.