Clean technology is already off to a great start this year. At CES, a host of startups debuted smart, eco-friendly gadgets that are more energy efficient than ever before. From gardening systems that conserve water, to smart home appliances that save energy, to solar powered chargers and electric scooters, clean energy and green tech made an impact at the conference — and hopefully tech companies will continue to grow that impact throughout the year.
Here are 10 awesome green gadgets that stuck out at CES 2015.
This startup is out of Canada, and has built a platform to create 3D printed hydroponics systems to grow plants and food. But more than that, the company uses their open source platform to bring STEM education into classrooms. It's a teaching tool for K-12, and kids can customize their own systems to either print themselves or have the company print for them.
2. Edyn Garden Sensor and Water Valve
This smart gardening system monitors and tracks environmental conditions so that outdoor plants can maximize their health potential. The system includes the Edyn garden sensor, water valve, and a supplemental app, which helps you monitor soil quality and make sure the garden is healthy any time of day. The system won "Tech for a Better World" category of the CES 2015 Innovation Awards.
3. XYZ Green Cube
Chinese company XYZ Printing has gained a lot of notoriety in the past year for its affordable desktop 3D printers. But the company has also expanded into clean technologies as well. The Green Cube is a contained hydroponics box that can grow vegetables year-round. The boxes are stackable, so you can fit several of them in one room of a home.
4. Gogoro scooter
This scooter was all the talk at CES, and won several innovation awards as well. The electric scooter uses Panasonic batteries (which are also used in the Tesla Model X) and has easily swappable battery packs so you can charge on the go instead of plugging in. It's also a smart scooter, and syncs information constantly about how it is operating and the location of the nearest charging stations.
Even in the middle of a devastating drought, you'll see homes and businesses watering their yards with a sprinkler system, wasting gallons of water because it's not accurately spraying the plants. With Droplet, that problem is fixed. This smart water system combines robotics, cloud computing and connected services to drop your water consumption and waste. Using a smart device, you input what plants and what kind of soil you have, and it will accurately water them.
6. AudioQuest NightHawk headphones
These are semi-open, over-ear headphones made from eco-friendly materials. The headphones won for best eco-design and sustainable technologies for the CES 2015 Innovation Awards. It is actually the first mass-produced headphone to include a 3D printed part in its design.
This little gadget is a portable solar charger. You can charge your smartphone and tablets from anywhere by leaving it out in the sun for 90 minutes, and you'll get a phone charge for more than four hours. They offer two models — one is smaller, with one solar panel, and the other has three solar panels and folds up to fit in your purse or backpack.
3D Systems recently unveiled the Ekocycle, made in collaboration with will.i.am and Coca Cola. This printer uses post-consumer recycled plastic made from used Coke bottles, which is then turned into filament and put in the printer. It retails for $1199. 3D Systems just gave away a lot of these printers to students on the FIRST Robotics teams for their competition this year, and so they will make their projects using these recycled materials.
9. WakaWaka charger
This company has been making solar lights and chargers for quite some time, but they showed off a new charger at CES. This one generates enough electricity to power four LED lights and has five USB ports to connect your devices. For every device WakaWaka sells, it gives one to someone in a developing country in need of power.
10. Mogobike electric scooter
This was another popular product at CES. The Mogobike, which can reach speeds up to 20 mph, folds up to a compact, portable size. It also has a USB charging port so that you can charge your devices on the go. Simply plug it into a household outlet to recharge it.
Lyndsey Gilpin has nothing to disclose. She doesn't hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Lyndsey Gilpin is a former Staff Writer for TechRepublic, covering sustainability and entrepreneurship. She's co-author of the book Follow the Geeks.