WeBike- pedal + recharge your tech while working!

New idea for library furniture…. pedal to recharge your tech while working at a desk with the WeBIKE. You can exercise and produce energy at the same time!! WeWATT is a Belgium Company who created these  combo-desk-bikes and they are now in many places in Europe (check out photos of examples here). Watch this  excellent  Mashable Video to learn more!.

These WeBikes can be in laid out in a row or circle (think group work). They say  they are make with some recycled materials too. Takes about 30 minutes of pedaling to charge your iPhone.  Though its a small company, customizing each request, so it’s probably not ready for most libraries yet at a cost of around $1300 a bike!?!  But the concept is so worth considering….


WeWatt Concept

From WeWatt website, their concept


Photo from WeWATT website of Antwerp railway station (Belgium)


From Inhabitat’s website



iconPFLooking to print a website  (“greener”) without wasting paper and ink on all the unnecessary pages and formatting? Try this web-based tool called PrintFriendly. You can print almost any website by simply pasting the URL on the Printfriendly website, or email the page to yourself, or print to PDF as well.



Also, add the tool as an extension to your Chrome browser to use as needed. And you can download the button code and add to your own website.  (find out more!)

TIP:  As suggested by the Tech Bits column in C&RL News June 2014 (brought to you by ACRL ULS Technology in University Libraries Committee) this tool  “…could be a powerful visual tool for librarians to compare website content and reliability during instruction” (- Jaki King)

Think before you print

A new year and new resolutions. How about an easy one – less printing? A new green format called WWF that allows one to save in a pdf style format but allows NO printing.  Created by World Wildlife Fund, this free downloadable format for both PCs and Macs, allows you to save emails, messages, resumes, documents, etc. in this WWF format but those receiving the document will not be able to print it.  could be annoying at times but also a good way to change habits for yourself and others, with things do not need to be printed on paper.  Read more & download  the format here.

Print What You Like of a web page

PrintWhatYouLike is a free online editor that lets you format any web page for printing in seconds  saving money and the environment.  It helps you eliminate printing web pages full of ads, empty space and other junk you don’t want.  Enter a URL and you get a screen with the web page image and legend of options such as to show or hide the  background, images, and  margins; change the font size and style; and save as various format. The best part – on the page itself, you can choose different areas/pieces of the page (indicated by their red box that highlights as you mouse over it) and the  isolate, remove, widen, resize, save clip or select only.  View the demo for details.

Solar Powered ebook Reader

The new LG Display used photovoltaic solar to power this ebook reader. Four to Five hours of sunlight will give the users a whole day of use w/o recharging.  It uses a thin-film solar cell – 10 centimeters squared – to  fit the 6″ display panel for the e-book, which  is produced “by placing electrodes onto a glass or plastic substrate. Contrary to widely adopted crystalline solar cells that employ silicon wafers, the thin-film solar cell is generally light-weight and easily adjustable in size and form for applications such as e-books or mobile phones.” (from LG Display Web site) It’s not available in the US yet but stay tuned. Read more at the Inhabitat Web site.

Mapping the Future of Solar/Renewable Energy

The BLM  (Bureau of land management) and Dept of Energy  created maps of six U.S. states most suitable for solar energy generation and transmission: Arizona (PDF and below), California (PDF), Colorado (PDF), Nevada (PDF), New Mexico (PDF) and Utah (PDF). The US Govt is now conducting several environmental impact studies, opening solar energy permitting offices, and overhauling the application and review process for utilities looking to develop land for solar energy generation. Read more on CNET’s Green Tech site.

There is also a new set of layers – 14 types of areas within three main categories of land protection –  for Google Earth called Path to Green Energy, developed byNatural Resources Defense Council and the National Audubon Society and a Google.org’s Geo Challenge Grants.  The tool’s goals is to provide industry, conservationists, policy-makers, and concerned citizens instant access to interactive wildlife, habitat and land management maps to guide appropriate site selection for renewable power generation and transmission facilities. Launch the tool through NRDC site and read more details here.

save energy

One easy way you can save energy (and money!) in your library is through your computer power management settings.  A typical desktop computer and LCD monitor can use over 200 watts a day. Laptops use less than 45 watts and Macs generally use  a lot less energy too. (more info)  By putting your computer to “sleep” you can cut back to 1-5 watts of energy.  Generally if you are going to be away for more than 20-30 minutes, set your computer and monitor to sleep/hibernate mode. This is especially good to do at night, weekends, or when you are away. Check with your IT folks to find out how they install updates to your computer, but many times they can either remotely turn on your computer, or set the updates to install once you computer is back on the network. (more info) The EPA has some information on computer power management settings for individual computers.  How to access these settings? In Windows XP go to start – control panels – power options:  set your monitor and your standby to 20 minutes. For Macs go to system preferences – energy saver. Also check that your peripherals are turned off – like the printer or copier -as well.  And buy Energy Star computers whenever possible – they use up to 60% less energy than non-energy star computers .  More computer energy saving tips.

Two common myths: no it doesn’t hurt your computer to turn it off and on frequently AND screensavers do nothing to save you energy.

Check out the Energy Star Pledge to join the campaign and/or find out more energy saving tips and ideas.

i am green

Check out iamgreen who’s goal is to  make every cell phone and computer “green.”  igamgreen LLC has developed proprietary downloadable software app for use on your iPhone, blackberry, android etc. for about 99cents.  They offer advice and education as well on how to more efficiently use technology, change your phone/computer settings, and general green news & tips.  They also plant a tree for every application purchased! Follow their blog, follow them on twitter, fan them on facebook, or visit their web site. They are in partnership with Energystar, IGEL (initiative for global environmental leadership) and Trees for the Future.

Watch this short video on their cell phone app: