It can be easy to feel helpless in the face of global issues such as climate change and environmental degradation. What difference can one person make? And we get it; you’re busy. It’s difficult enough to find the time to finish that book or TV series that you started last month, let alone save the world. So, to help you out, we’ve decided to share with you a few choice apps that can help you save time, the environment, and cut down on your utilities bill.
1.JouleBug (FREE) Android and IOS: Earn points and badges for your sustainable actions (using a reusable water bottle, taking public transportation, taking a shorter shower, etc.). JouleBug also hooks up to your utility accounts so you can track how much your sustainable lifestyle is saving you per month.
2. greenMeter ($5.99) IOS: Make your apps work for you! Use the greenMeter app to maximize your gas efficiency and reduce your fuel consumption. The app evaluates your driving tendencies and provides you with feedback to increase your fuel efficiency and lower your environmental impact.
3. iRecycle(FREE) Android: Knowing which items are recyclable and figuring out the appropriate way to dispose of them can be frustrating and time-consuming. This is why iRecycle provides users with over 1,500,000 ways to recycle more than 350 different materials.
4. Dropcountr(FREE) Android and IOS: After connecting the app with your water utility company, Dropcountr enables you to conserve water and save on your utility bill by sending you usage reports, helping you to set a water budget, and notifying you when you have a leak (or your children left the hose running).
5. MyEarth (FREE) Android and IOS: The MyEarth app will calculate the carbon offset of the environmentally friendly activities that you do each day. Simply login whenever you turn off your electronics when leaving a room, carpool to work, or change your air conditioner’s filter, and you can observe how many carbon units you are saving. It becomes infinitely easier to make environmentally friendly decisions when you can see a tangible calculation of your efforts.
6. Farmstand (FREE) IOS and Mobile Web: Variety is the spice of life! Not only does eating food grown locally and seasonally provide diversity to your diet, it also helps the environment by cutting back on “food mileage.” With the assistance of the Farmstand app you can now find directions to nearby farmers’ markets, check the best deals, and see what times the markets stay open until.
For more information on how you can make a difference in the environment, or to request a free quote for a ConnecTable solar charging station or Grid2Go solar mobile charger, please contact one of our sales representatives at email@example.com.
With all of the incredible advancements in technology over the past decade, have you ever wondered why we still don’t have batteries that will last for longer than a day without needing to be recharged? As technology gets better and faster with each year, why hasn’t the need to power it caught up?
Moore’s Law predicts that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit will double every two years. Or in layman’s terms, that digital electronics will continue to improve at an incredibly fast rate for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, this law does not apply to battery technologies and their underlying chemical processes.
While much research has been conducted with the aim of finding new ways to improve battery life, there is still no clear-cut leader, which has led to a division of research funding. And with slow, but continued improvements to lithium ion batteries, the Big 3 battery producers, Samsung, Panasonic, and LG, have little interest in developing radically different battery technologies.
With no significant improvement to battery life on the horizon, we are left to find more convenient ways to recharge so we can allow our mobile devices to keep us mobile, not anchored down to the closest outlet.
From men to women, students to professionals, it has happened to all of us; whether it be at tailgate, on a hike, relaxing at a park, or sitting in the Quad finishing a paper, we have all been forced to step out of the sun and return indoors to locate an outlet so we can charge our phone or laptop.
For this reason, our goal at the ConnecTable is to provide our customers with convenient solutions to their charging issues. The ConnecTable solar charging tables, the Café and the Hub, allow students, corporate professionals, and park-goers with a comfortable, convenient, and ecofriendly station to recharge.
And if you prefer to venture even further off the beaten path, simply bring a Grid2Go mobile phone charger that fits in your pocket and you’ll be worried about losing your phone service long before you ever worry about a low battery.
For more information on off-grid charging or to request a free quote for a ConnecTable solar charging station or Grid2Go solar mobile charger, please contact one of our sales representatives at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ConnecTable is more than just a solar charging table. We’ve designed it as a multi-purpose social gathering station, and while we built the table with certain sustainability uses in mind our customers have found many additional ways that ConnecTable can be beneficial to campuses and outdoor workspaces alike:
Outdoor Charging Station: The main purpose for the table was, and continues to be, an off-grid, solar charging solution for charging your devices outdoors. The ConnecTable enables students, colleagues and park patrons alike to charge up to 150 mobile devices per day- including phones, laptops, cameras, tablets and hand-held video game consoles.
Outdoor Learning Center: The ConnecTable is ideal for creating an outdoor learning center for students. Use one of the 4 electrical plugs to hook up a projector to the table and give presentations and lectures to students. Alternatively, allow students to bring their laptops and books outside with them to work on individual or group assignments.
Campus Safety Feature: Studies have shown that less crime occurs on well-lit streets and areas of campus. Keep your neighborhood and students safer by taking advantage of the ConnecTable’s LED lighting.
Fundraising Opportunity: At the University at California, Santa Barbara, students have found several innovative ways to use the ConnecTable café table. Several student groups have set up fundraisers around the ConnecTable and have utilized the tables charging and Wi-Fi capabilities to set up PowerPoints and slideshows.
Shaded Seating Areas: We know how hot it can get hot in the summer, and far too often there are not nearly enough shaded seating areas in parks and university campuses. Luckily, users can find solace and sanctuary from the afternoon sun underneath the ConnecTable’s 10’x 6’ shade canopy.
Outdoor Workstation: The ConnecTable’s design provides employees with a comfortable workstation where they can plug-in their laptops and phones, and work on their projects and assignments while enjoying the serenity of nature. You can even schedule an outdoor meeting at a ConnecTable! Many businesses have beautiful courtyards on their campus, but unfortunately they are only utilized by smokers and geese. By adding a ConnecTable to your campus and encouraging employees to spend more time outdoors, you will find that your employees will be much happier and more efficient on a daily basis.
For more information on the ConnecTable Hub or to request a free quote please contact our sales department at email@example.com.
Have any other ideas for uses for the ConnecTable? Leave us a comment below!
It’s common knowledge that spending time outdoors helps reduce stress and increase productivity, but did you know that it also helps regulate your circadian rhythm, which helps you fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning?
Did you know that spending time in the presence of local flora helps to strengthen your immune system? And that spending time outdoors can even help to battle and prevent depression?
Even without all of these added benefits, who doesn’t want to spend more time outdoors?
Sitting in a classroom or an office all day can make it difficult for us to get the fresh air and sunlight that we need. But with busy schedules and the need for electricity and internet to be productive it’s hard to bring our work outside with us, right?
Not with the ConnecTable.
At the ConnecTable’s headquarters in Willow Grove, PA, you will find employees eating, chatting, relaxing, and working outdoors—with no fear of their laptops or phones dying on them.
That’s because they work in the shade provided by the ConnecTable’s solar array with their computers plugged in to one the ConnecTable’s (4) GFCI outlets and their phones connected to one of the table’s (8) USB ports.
“It’s perfect for when I get writer’s block,” says Jimmy Mastroni, ConnecTable’s Marketing & Production Coordinator.
“The fresh air and scenery help me to clear my mind and focus on my work. Plus it helps break up the monotony of a day; it’s amazing how beneficial it is to step outside the office for even an hour or two.”
“I enjoy taking my lunch with outside with me while I work on renderings and designs for new tables and products” explains Brian Kehl, the ConnecTable’s lead designer.
“For me, it is much easier to relax and focus on my work when I’m outdoors.”
The ConnecTable is not just suitable for corporate life; students and university faculty around the country are also enjoying the benefits of working outdoors.
More than 20 tables have been installed in the University of California school system alone.
“The tables have become highly functional spaces for group study sessions with everyone plugged in” explains Brian Petyo, the marketing manager at UC Irvine.
John Cook, the director of sustainability at UC Riverside elaborated, “The solar tables [at UCR] provide a clean and renewable source of energy for charging the multitude of mobile devices on campus while offering much needed shade.”
Smartphones and social media have turned the world into a global village. Australians can communicate with their online neighbors in Nigeria. Icelanders can network with Hawaiians. And people in the Upper West Side can interact with those in the Upper East Side—if they want to. So if technology can bring people together from all across the globe and from all walks of life, why has it become so difficult to connect with people in our own community? Many people contend that technology has hindered the development of personal relationships and interactions, as well as the social development of our youth.
It’s becoming harder and harder to interact with people face-to-face. The majority of commuters have their headphones in, friends now text instead of calling, and a party is more commonly becoming a way to check out what’s happening on Instagram while surrounded by people doing the same. How do you strike up a casual conversation with someone who is immersed in technology? While this breakdown in physical communication is lamentable, the fact is that we are living in a digital age and technological advances will continue to permeate our society – we just need to find a way to use technology in a social way.
Instead of technology working as a barrier for human socialization, we want it to be something that brings people together. That’s why we’ve created the ConnecTable Hub. As the name indicates, the Hub is a central place for people to connect with technology, nature, AND other people, using off-grid, solar technology. The Hub’s charging output and LED lighting offers an area for universities, businesses, and community associations to host movie nights, showcase presentations, play interactive, online games, and partake in a plethora of other activities to spur the participation and socialization of its members.
The Hub is also a great place for students to bring their lunch and laptops so they can work on projects while enjoying the afternoon sun instead of studying in the dark, dusty, and often cramped library stacks. It’s also ideal for corporate employees who need to escape their cubicles and conference rooms for a breath of fresh air and some outdoor inspiration. The Hub also provides a convenient location for neighbors to catch up with one another and relax under the table’s shade, while charging their camera batteries for those precious shots of their children playing at the park.
The ConnecTable Hub offers a comfortable, convenient workstation that allows people to both interact with millions through the internet and socialize with colleagues, coworkers, and neighbors in person.
It’s our goal to help our clients put “social” back on the map, without sacrificing the work (or play) that needs to be done. Be sure to look for the ConnecTable Hub’s unveiling at this year’s AASHE Conference in Baltimore, October 9-12! For more information on availability and pricing, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technology is always improving – and so are we. Our goal is to extend the amount of “green” time that Americans spend outdoors by providing the convenience and comfort of connecting to mobile devices while on the go. Because sustainable technology continues to augment our surrounding landscapes, from business buildings to universities and parks, our design team has created a new product that can adapt to our changing environments and our modern need to stay connected – the ConnecTable Hub!
After receiving feedback from you, our customers, our design engineers agreed that it was time for a new product with a simpler, more cost-effective design – one that would ultimately give you more ‘bang for your buck’.
According to Brian Kehl, the Hub’s lead designer, one of the biggest benefits of the new table design is portability. “We took the Café table and boiled it down. The Hub is designed to be a turnkey product. Just drop it down and turn it on. It’s as simple as that.”
The Hub design, which is both NEC and ADA compliant, will feature (4) solar panels, (8) USB charging ports, (4) GFCI outlets, carbon steel for the mast and canopy, and a concrete base and table top, with (2) concrete benches and the ability to add on up to (2) more.
“The ConnecTable Hub was designed with a simple, robust concrete frame for several reasons” says Kehl. “First, the design will allow the table to complement a variety of settings. Second, concrete has a multitude of beneficial properties for outdoor furniture: it is nearly maintenance free, it will remain resilient during harsh weather, maintain our 90mph wind rating without the need for an anchor, will not overheat on a summer day, and is highly resistant to vandalism. And finally, the use of concrete has allowed us to significantly lower the cost of the table, so that we can make it more affordable.”
The color of the concrete for the ConnecTable Hub will be a warm French Grey.
“I’m excited to finally see the release of the table,” remarks Kehl. “This type of solar innovation is the future, and it feels good to be doing our part.”
A simple concept with a sleek design and a multitude of applications. The ConnecTable Hub is sure to be a game changer.
Look out for the Hub to make its debut at the 2016 AASHE Tradeshow in Baltimore this October!
Here at the ConnecTable we are always thinking about our clients, and how we can evolve our product line to match their ever-changing needs. Technology can be either a blessing or a curse. We have decided to see it as an opportunity to grow, and are always finding new ways to save time and money through solar and design advancements. What’s more, we pride ourselves on being customer-centric. At the very core of our product is a belief that our customers are seeking convenience through sustainability. This belief is the basis of our business, the reason why we exist…
It’s been a few years though, great years where we have learned and grown, found our strengths, and areas of improvement. In that time we have continued to provide great customer service, but needed to get a pulse on the market. We decided that the simplest way to see how the market felt about our product, the ConnecTable, was to ask. And that’s exactly what we did. The more we asked the more we understood there was an opportunity for a new solar charging table that would be unlike anything else. Spoiler alert: We made it; it’s called the ConnecTable Hub.
Our survey method was pretty straightforward- we created an online survey that could be taken in less than 10 minutes that included quantitative and qualitative questions. We reached out to current and prospective clients, as well as industry leaders via email, and asked if they had time for a phone conversation to review the results. The conversations we had were surprising in some ways, and confirmed what we thought we knew in other ways.
At a high level, we were able to narrow in on what the customer finds to be the most important aspects of our product as it pertains to their buying decision. While price was a major factor, it wasn’t the largest. Design aesthetic ranked high in terms of priorities, as well as durability- especially in campus and park settings. There was a lot of discussion around performance, maintenance and safety as well.
Our research has also informed us that both GFCI and USB outlets are preferred and that charging ability and battery duration are also very important to you. In addition, respondents indicated that the materials that are used are very important. Customers want a table that is resistant to both vandalism and the destructive power of nature. Finally, you mentioned that customizability was not important as long as the table could complement a wide variety of surroundings.
With all of this in mind, our design team developed our newest product – the ConnecTable Hub!
Using the same great design aesthetic as in our Café model, we went back to the drawing board to create a brand new product that is visually appealing, durable, and provides the same great performance you have come to expect from ConnecTable, charging up to 150 devices per day through the power of the sun. We also heard several comments about the product price. The Hub was designed to address these concerns. We know that you may love every aspect of a product and have a thousand useful applications for it, but unfortunately none of that matters if it is out of your price range. This is why we have reduced the price of the ConnecTable Hub…a full 33% lower than the Café!
In closing, we would like to send a very special “thank you” to everyone who contributed their time. Your thoughts and ideas are what kept us going through this whole process. We know this isn’t the end of the conversation, however, and we look forward to your continued feedback while we continuously improve upon our line of solar charging stations, thereby enabling you to meet your sustainability goals and make this Earth a greener place.
Be sure to look for the ConnecTable Hub when it is unveiled at this year’s AASHE conference in Baltimore from October 9th-12th!
People often say that going green and living sustainably has become the new fad. But at ConnecTable, we disagree. Fads come and go. Sustainability is here to stay. Here is a short list of some of our favorite sustainable innovations that have come out recently, as well as a few to look out for in the future:
These sneakers are cleaning the world’s oceans in a creative and stylish manner. The upper area of the shoe is made from recycled ocean plastic, and the midsole is 3D printed using recycled gillnets. In addition to newer, greener products, Adidas has also recently eliminated the use of plastic bags in all of their retail stores. Saving the world one sneaker at a time.
Most people probably don’t consider the greenhouse gas impact of water use, but the easiest way for the average person to reduce their carbon footprint is by cutting down on their daily water consumption. The Nebia Shower offers an innovative design that addresses this problem by reducing water waste from showering by 70% while also improving the shower experience. The shower atomizes water droplets to create a surface area that is 10x the size of the average shower—virtually enveloping you in water from the moment you step in.
Transparent glass is now being used to capture solar energy. This solar panel system from Onyx Solar operates the same way as any other solar system, but the material is transparent and allows for natural light to pass through. Onyx solar has recently installed an entire walkable floor of photovoltaic glass in the Apple Store in San Francisco. This state-of-the-art walkable solar glass floor will generate enough electricity to completely power the store.
Green Magic Homes or “Hobbit Holes” give a whole new meaning to green living. The homes are created with sustainable materials and designed to allow residents to be one with nature. Built directly into the landscape, Green Magic Homes are also extremely energy efficient; the thermal mass from the dirt that covers the homes is able to keep the house temperature consistent year-round. Furthermore, the homes are made to accommodate a variety of settings, with models available for the tundra, desert, forest, pasture, and mountains.
After they have become too small to write with, these writing utensils can be placed into soil where the will grow and blossom into a plant. The Sprout Pencils are made of cedar and come with a biodegradable capsule that contains seeds and peat. There are several plant seeds available; including, sage, rosemary, thyme, broccoli, mint, and cherry tomato.
By 2050, global water demand is expected to increase by 55 percent, and by 2025 nearly 2 billion people will live in areas affected by water scarcity. This is why a team from MIT has come up with a new solar powered way to turn salt water into clean drinking water. The system uses the process of reverse-osmosis, which removes particles from water through a polymer membrane. Desalination plants are not a new idea, but recent decreases in cost have made them a new viable option to mitigate the world’s fresh water problem. The technology would allow the use of brackish water to turn barren landscapes into agricultural oases.
The Seabin Project was created when two Australian surfers made a floating garbage can that filters out water and collects waste that has been tossed into the bay. The can works like a fish tank filter, but on a much larger scale. It is capable of filtering out floating garbage, fuel, oil, and even detergent from the water. This brilliant invention is helping to slowly but surely clean up the local ocean, and can hopefully be implemented on a broader scale in the near future.
Bike sharing has become a great form of eco-friendly transportation in large urban areas. It allows users to pick up a bike at any service point and return it to any other service point in the city. There are currently bike shares located in many cities across the U.S., including: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Seattle and Houston. Coming soon to LA!
Why waste the energy to heat or cool and entire building when you can heat or cool individuals directly? MIT engineers have developed a wristband that allows an individual to alter their body temperature without discomforting anyone else in the room. The wristband regulates the wearer’s body temperature by sending out hot or cold pulses to the wrist. Although this is only a prototype at the moment, look for them to be on sale in the not-so-distant future.
Do you have any sustainable innovations that you think could have made our list? Feel free to leave your comments below.
As the summer heats up and the U.S. experiences record temperatures in the Southwest, there is no better time to cool off indoors with a cold glass of water and a good movie.
As a sustainability company, some of our favorite flicks are those based on real life that shed light on the need for better environmental practices and leave us inspired (or awestruck) about this amazing world we live in and our power to preserve its beauty.
Below we have compiled a comprehensive list for your heat wave watching pleasure, from environmental documentaries to Pixar movies, and everything in between. Get the popcorn ready!
No Impact Man
No Impact Man follows Colin Beavan on his journey to go COMPLETELY green while living Manhattan. His year-long project with his wife and daughter documents the struggles and benefits that come with giving up the comforts of modern living — no TV, no taxis, no plastic, no electricity. Watch with delight when he tells his New Yorker wife she can no longer have Starbucks.
Truly a visual masterpiece, Avatar explores the clash between mankind and the environment on a fictional world named Pandora. When humanity discovers the rich resources of this new world, they create an Avatar for paralyzed Marine Jake Sully so that he might infiltrate the ranks of the native population on a mission that will allow humans to mine(and in the process, destroy) the planets ecosystem. What follows is a beautiful twist on what it means to have compassion for different species and environments.
This film is worth watching for the visuals alone! On assignment for National Geographic, James Balog headed to the Artic to capture images for a piece on climate change. Originally a bit skeptical, he was astounded when he witnessed the rapid disappearance of an incredible landscape that much of the world never gets to see. A man on a mission, Balog took a team back with him to capture time-lapse evidence of the melting Arctic. Complete with breathtaking views and more than a few cliffhanger moments (literally) this film is a must see.
It swept the 2014 Academy Awards for good reason! Gravity will have you on the edge of your seat as you tag along for the ride of an abandoned astronaut in space. It makes our list not just for its cinematographic achievements, but also for its stunning views of planet earth and strong message of survival.
An Inconvenient truth
Arguably the most popular film on climate change, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth drew controversy from its inception. Both informative and terrifying, don’t miss the movie that brought the discussion of climate change to the forefront of the media.
Fuel [Field of fuel]
The “unofficial sequel to An Inconvenient Truth”, this documentary sets out to answer the question, “What can we do to help the environment?” Environmental activist Josh Tickell examines alternative energy sources with the help of friends Sheryl Crow and Larry David, focusing on the impacts of biofuel.
Everyone knows Pixar has the secret formula when it comes to making great movies. However, Wall-E broke the mold when it was released. Regarded as one of Pixar’s best, the film follows a robot named Wall-E, as he is sent to clean up the destruction from a post-apocalyptic earth devastated by environmental change. Along the way he finds his robot love and follows her across the galaxy, while still managing to save the day and sprinkle in some laughs and tears along the way.
The 11th Hour
Not to be confused with the 2014 Kim Basinger thriller, The 11thHour is a documentary focusing on the political side of climate change. This is not a movie for the faint of heart, as it includes very intense footage of some of the more recent natural disasters, but it provides a great educational experience that will leave you feeling inspired to make a difference.
See Julia Roberts in one of her most famous roles as she portrays whistleblower Erin Brockovich. Based on true events, Brockovich is single mother who finds employment as a law firm secretary. What she uncovers is a corporate cover-up involving cancerous water pollution that has led to tumors in the local population. Watch it for the great acting and a powerful message of one person’s ability to make a difference.
Years of Living Dangerously
From executive producer James Cameron comes a documentary series that focuses on the effects that global warming has had in various places around the world. What’s more, Cameron uses those most in the spotlight, celebrities, as the personal correspondents for each episode. With each installment the series gives you an in-depth look at each location with a brand new perspective.
Another science fiction movie for the ages, Interstellar follows an astronaut who leaves Earth to find a new habitat for humanity as the health of Earth is declining to the point of no return. With groundbreaking special effects and superb acting by Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, Interstellar is a story of the survival of the human spirit at its best.
Short for “Your Environmental Road Trip”, this documentary is a bit more on the lighter side of climate change. Watch as 3 people travel to all 50 states in 1 year (jammed in 1 hybrid) in an effort to highlight the initiatives each state is doing to reduce their carbon footprint.
Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest
A childhood favorite, Fern Gully is an animated cult classic. When Krista the fairy discovers humans are planning to chop down their rainforest she decides to shrink one of them so he can truly understand what it is to appreciate and love nature the way she and the animals are able to. Keep an eye out for the hysterical Batty Koda, voiced by Robin Williams.
A Fierce Green Fire
For all the history buffs out there, this documentary takes a look at the story of sustainability and climate change in the United States since it first became a hot topic in the 70’s. With great raw footage of the environmental movement and compelling narration by Robert Redford this is guaranteed to keep you captivated.
Race the Sun
Every movie marathon needs a 90’s throwback movie, plus it has Halle Berry! While this film may be a bit corny to some, it’s a fun adventure that follows a group of underdog high school students in Hawaii as they try to create the very first solar car.
There you have it! With 14 movies making our list you should be set for at least one weekend heatwave. Happy watching!
Please feel free to leave your comments on your favorite sustainability themed movies, or recommend ones that you think we missed below!
Do you find yourself waiting for the “other shoe to drop” when it comes to renewable energy? If so, you aren’t alone. There are many reasons for ‘waiting it out’— some assume it could be a fad, others are hoping prices will drop, still others are waiting to see if sustainable energy is really all that efficient. Perhaps it’s natural to be skeptical of change, but it’s high time to embrace that renewable energy is not just a fad, and in fact is the most affordable and efficient it’s ever been. A recent article by the BBC, “Renewable Energy Soars to Record Levels Around the World,” has brought to light new statistics that support investing in solar energy, NOW:
More Popular Than Ever
For years now renewable energy has been increasing in popularity, not only in residential areas, but also in the manufacturing, education, and corporate business sectors. It should be no surprise to hear that in 2015 more solar, wind, and hydropower sources were added globally and at a faster rate than ever before.
Globally, renewable energy saw its greatest year in 2015: Green power is now the leading source of electricity in Europe, providing for 44% of its total capacity. Meanwhile, in the U.S., several businesses that employ a combined 11 million people have made a 100% commitment to using renewables as their sole means of energy.
While it’s no surprise that some of the top players in the global economy have added the largest share of green power(China accounts for over 1/3 of the global total), this year developing countries spent more on renewable energy than the world’s wealthier nations for the first time ever. This can be attributed to the increasing affordability of renewable energy — no longer is it seen as an investment too expensive to responsibly consider. Even more interesting is that as the cost of renewables falls, the cost of fossil fuels has (independently) as well; yet, investment in renewables are double that of fossil fuels. While these resources are now extremely cost-competitive, there is an undeniable preference towards green energy as it produces a greater ROI, while also helping to preserve the environment.
If you are considering investing in renewable resources for your home, business or institution, the time has never been better. We look forward to making a brighter and cleaner future together.