Apps feature environmental news, accident assistance, thermostat control

April 9, 2012
Searching for an easy way to stay current on environmental news? There’s an app for that.

Smartphone app serves up environmental news

Searching for an easy way to stay current on environmental news? There’s an app for that. The Taptu Guardian Environment app brings together content from the Guardian’s Open platform as well as other media brands known for their environmental coverage, such as the BBC, NPR, and the New York Times. Dedicated photo galleries filled with striking images provide a unique view of the natural world. The platform allows users to mix and match stories from their favorite topics to create a customized environmental news service and share news via Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Other features let users save stories for later viewing with Instapaper, Read it Later, or Taptu’s Bookmark Stream tools. Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Download free in the iTunes store.

App assists first responders with alternative-fuel vehicle accidents

With one million electric vehicles expected on the road by 2015, in addition to hundreds of thousands of alternative-fuel vehicles, a certain percentage will end up in accidents. A new smartphone app aims to assist first responders in correctly dealing with these accident scenarios. The Quick Reference Guide (QRG), developed by the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium, is a tool for emergency personnel who need immediate access to information about these vehicles at the scene of an accident. The QRG app includes information on hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery, and fuel cell electric vehicles, as well as those powered by biodiesel, ethanol, natural gas, propane, and hydrogen. Vehicle-specific information contains identification mechanisms, disconnect procedures, and other special concerns. The free app for iPhones and iPads is available in the iTunes store. An Android version is now in development.

Turn up the heat with a smartphone app

If you’ve ever wished you could warm up the house before heading home from work, now your wish has been granted. Likewise, if you forgot to turn down the heat before enjoying a week in Florida, you can do that remotely as well. The ecobee Smart Thermostat is a WiFi-enabled programmable thermostat featuring an LCD touchscreen and user-friendly interface. The device integrates heating, cooling, ventilation, energy management, and utility demand response. Used in conjunction with this intelligent energy monitor, the ecobee smartphone app lets users control their Smart Thermostats from anywhere at any time. It can be used to adjust the thermostat’s temperature; schedule or update a vacation event, change the system or fan operating settings; and receive alerts. The free app is available in the iTunes store and

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