Are you trying to be more environmentally conscious? That doesn't have to mean buying a Prius or installing solar-energy panels on your roof. There are less-expensive ways to be green, from bringing your own reusable bag to the grocery store to cutting down on the number of catalogs you receive in the mail (for help on that, check out my new favorite site, Catalog Choice). And, of course, a slew of new environmentally friendly consumer electronics can help with the cause.
1. Power-Light TV
If you're like me, the recent writers' strike didn't do much to temper your TV addiction. As long it's not NASCAR or something with Howie Mandel in it, I'll watch. So if I'm going to wither my brain with shows like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, I should at least consume as little power as possible while doing so.
Enter Philips's Eco TV. This 1080p, 42-inch beaut incorporates several energy-savings measures, including a dimming mechanism designed to lower the panel's backlight depending on what's being shown on screen, and a sensor that measures the room's ambient light and automatically adjusts the backlight accordingly. Adding to the Eco TV's green cred is its use of lead-free materials, plus recycled packaging and manuals. Available in March, the Eco TV will set you back about $1399--though the feeling that you're doing something virtuous is priceless.
2. Earthy Drives
For completists looking to clean up all aspects of their electronic life, here's some good news: Even data storage can be green. The EarthDrive is a fully recyclable USB thumb drive made from bio-recycled material. Ranging in capacity from 1GB to 8GB, the EarthDrive costs $20 to $100, and the maker dedicates a portion of its profits to planting trees via a partnership with the American Forest Foundation.
If you're looking for a bigger chunk of Earth-lovin' storage, check out Kanguru's Eco Drive, which can reduce power consumption by up to 75 percent compared withother external drives. It does this via three modes--Idle, Standby, and Power Down--that ratchet down the power depending on how long the drive has been inactive (of course, the deeper it's sleeping, the longer it will take to spin back up). It's also free of such common toxic materials as mercury, lead, and cadmium. A 3.5-inch version of the drive is available in sizes ranging from 80GB to 750GB (and at prices from $95 to $260), while 2.5-inchers come in 80GB and 160GB versions (at prices from $100 to $140).