Green gadgets

The idea of buying green gadgets may seem a little odd: shouldn’t we be buying less, not more? You may find that buying some of these items more than make up for their production cost by reducing your environmental impact on the planet.

“All off” remote control

This handy little gadget makes switching off a number of appliances as easy as changing TV channels. Looking like any normal plug adaptor, you simply plug in up to four appliances. When you have finished using them, you press a button on the remote and it’s the same as if you had crawled round on your hands and knees to switch off the plug at the wall. When you next want to use an appliance, you hit the remote again and it springs back into action. This is a really simple and convenient way of reducing the time appliances are left on standby and reducing costs to you and the world.

Power monitor

Also known as an owl monitor, this device comes in two parts. One you clip onto a wire close to your electricity meter while the other is portable and you put it anywhere that is convenient for you to glance at occasionally (the kitchen is ideal). Then it is simply a matter of watching the meter whenever you use any electrical appliance to see how much power it uses. Switch on the microwave and watch it soar, start a load of washing and watch the units mount up, or check it last thing at night when everything is supposed to be switched off. You can set it to display units or cost and can even give totals for each day, so you then have the information you need to change your habits and track down your power guzzlers.

Wind up torches

Such a simple idea: no more messing around with torches that don’t work when you need them. With a wind up torch, you turn the handle for a minute or so and have plenty of power and bright light too. They keep their charge for a while, so you can wind them up well before you need them. They are small and convenient as well as cheap enough to have plenty to hand, so you can slip one in your pocket and keep one in the car for any emergencies.

Solar lights

Garden lights with wires? How expensive and complicated. Solar lights need no wires: you simply push the spike into the ground, or hang the light from a tree and wait for the sun to do the rest. Daylight falling on the small solar panel during the day is enough to power the lights for some hours in the evening, so you can enjoy your garden even in the dark. They are also available as security lights with motion sensors so you can protect even the furthest reaches of your garden with having to resort to messy wires.