Green Apps

Free “Green” Apps

By Athena Motavvef

I’m a college student who is always on the go, so being able to quickly pull out my smartphone to access e-mail, weather information, or the latest news is really helpful. As a regular user of apps and an intern with EPA’s Office of Public Engagement, I became interested in what “green” apps were available. In my role at EPA, I help get the word out about the different ways citizens can better protect their health and help the environment by contributing to the weekly production of the EPA Highlights Newsletter. I’d like to share with you my top three favorite green apps.

sunwise

EPA’s SunWise UV index

Available for iOS, Android and Blackberry
When I go hiking with friends and family or just plan a day where I know I’ll be outside often, I want to protect my skin. I have fair skin, but no matter your skin type or the weather, anyone can be at risk of damage from the sun. The UV Index app allows you to check out daily and hourly UV forecasts so you can help keep your skin healthy. I did a quick check today and despite being a sunny winter day in the nation’s capital, the UV index is at a moderate 3. The app recommends that I protect myself with SPF 30+ sunscreen (will do), sunglasses (check) and a hat (check – it is cold out)!

Get the app: http://www.epa.gov/enviro/mobile/
Learn more about protecting yourself from the sun: http://www2.epa.gov/sunwise

airnow

 

EPA AIRNow

Available for iOS and Android
As a student growing up in Los Angeles and moving to the Inland Empire for college, I have been regularly affected by higher levels of air pollution than most areas of the country. Planning outdoor activities to keep my asthma from acting up is easier now that I can check real-time air quality. Luckily for those that suffer from asthma as well, this app allows us to quickly see location-specific reports on current and forecasted air quality conditions for both ozone and fine particle pollution. Now I can better plan my day so that I know I will be able to breathe easy.
Get the app: http://m.epa.gov/apps/airnow.html
Learn more about AIRNow: http://www.airnow.gov/

iWARM

EPA iWARM

Available for iOS
If you’re like me, recycling is a habit. Sometimes, I wonder just how much energy I am saving through my actions. The iWARM app helps paint that picture by calculating the energy saved from recycling common household items. The savings are then converted into the equivalent amount of electricity, estimating how long that energy will operate household appliances. I did a quick calculation of what I recycled this week, and I saved enough energy to power my laptop for 3.4 hours! Even small actions like recycling a plastic bottle save energy and can help combat climate change.
Get the app: http://m.epa.gov/apps/warm.html
Learn more about iWARM: http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/tools/iwarm/index.htm
These three green apps are great tools to use every day, especially for someone like me who likes to eat yummy food on sunny restaurant patios and catch up with friends.

About the author: Athena Motavvef is an intern in EPA’s Office of Public Engagement in Washington DC. She is currently obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Public Policy with an emphasis in urban/environmental policy at the University of California, Riverside. She has interests in environmental education and public engagement.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Green Apps Forum

By Jeff Tumarkin

Almost six months ago I was asked to help manage the Apps for the Environment Challenge. I really had no idea what to expect as this was uncharted territory for EPA. We researched other government challenges and decided the only way we could possibly succeed without being able to offer prize money was to work closely with the developer and mobile user communities; to ask them what they need from us in order to develop Green Apps.

Now, after participating with hundreds of developers, students, open data specialists and government innovators at our “Building Innovation Through Partnerships” forum Tuesday, Nov. 8th, I can fully appreciate the contributions and collaborations from around the country that has created what will hopefully be a lasting foundation for an environmental data and developer community!

The forum included an afternoon of discussions, breakout sessions and recognition for the winners of the Apps for the Environment Challenge. It was amazing to see a room full of such diverse groups, from the young teenagers whose team was awarded Best Student App, to CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, and our own Chief Information Officer Malcolm Jackson, all together to celebrate one vision of putting environmental data into the hands of the public.

The Apps for the Environment Challenge resulted in over 100 ideas from users as to what environmental mobile applications they would like to see, and 38 finished apps. More than 2000 votes were cast for the Popular Choice Award, and the challenge itself became one of the most popular ever hosted on Challenge.gov.

During the Business, Tech and User Perspectives panel discussion, a key point mentioned was that if the federal government acts as a data wholesaler and not retailer, releasing bulk data in any computer readable format, this will lead to success with the developer community
At the end of the day, both Lisa Schlosser, Federal Deputy CIO, and EPA CIO Malcolm Jackson both reiterated that EPA will be looking for other means and opportunities for community building with the green apps community, and by working closely together we can accomplish great things through this continued engagement.

Personally, this has been the most exciting initiative that I have worked on in my 30+ years of working at EPA. Our Team did an amazing job, and it was truly and honor and privilege to work with such a creative and dedicated group of staff and managers. I am very excited about the future as we continue to work closely with developers and users. I am confident that if we continue to work together individuals and communities will benefit by having access to the information they need to make better decisions about their health and the environment.

About the author: Jeff Tumarkin, the communications lead for EPA’s Office of Information Analysis and Access, lives outside Washington, DC in suburban Maryland. When not working at EPA Jeff spends his free time cycling, kayaking, fishing and promoting environmental protection in his own community.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.