Blog Post

Go Green: 8 iPhone Apps to Help Save the Planet

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!


These days, “going green” is all the rage. So it should be no surprise to anyone that “green” apps for the iPhone are, ahem, sprouting up all over.

I wonder though, with green-ness being such a trendy topic, are some developers just using the term as marketing? I gathered up the greenest apps I could find for my iPhone to see how much they might help me save the planet — and to see if they are true to the cause. The following are my findings.


I’m not the New Age, environmentally conscious type. Don’t get me wrong, I try to do the right things, but I’m not immersed in the movement, so to speak. But it’s my assumption that knowing how to do good for the environment is a combination of common sense and remembering the lessons taught on “Sesame Street.” In case you missed out on one or both of these key elements, the App Store carries a few free apps that give you tips for taking better care of the world around you.

  • Go Green (free)
    Displays a tip each time you launch it. That’s it. I came across a useful tip or two that I hadn’t considered before.
  • Green Tips (free)
    Displays a tip at launch. Hit the refresh button for more tips (though there are not many to cycle through). Email them off if you find them to be especially helpful — I didn’t.
  • The Green Lemur (free)
    By far the most full-featured of these three. Search, add tips to favorites, or browse by category. I did find some interesting ideas here as well.

Measuring Up

What does your carbon footprint look like? How can you whittle down your personal impact on the environment, and maybe even put some extra green in your pocket at the same time? Glad you asked! While the following apps each have their own focus, each of them can help you figure out an answer to these questions. The best part is that if you truly give them a chance, you could start saving yourself some money while also lessening your impact on the environment.

  • MeterRead ($2.99)
    Somewhat manual in usage (but then, no one said saving the planet would be easy!), use MeterRead to log your electric meter’s reading. You can log your readings and use them to predict your electrical consumption, and thus, your upcoming bill. Try to be more efficient, and maybe the next time you check the meter, your readings will hit below the projected usage. (More info on their site.)
  • greenMeter ($5.99)
    My favorite of the bunch. Uses the accelerometer to determine the drag and resistance of your car/driving habits in real time. There are several usage meters to monitor, though real-time MPG has been my favorite. Really helps tune your driving for better efficiencies and fewer pointless emissions. (More info on their site.)
  • shopgreen (free)
    By title, this doesn’t sound like it fits here, but it does. To use the app, just answer some questions about how you maintain your life. Answers that are good for the environment are tallied (like air-drying your clothes, or changing the furnace air filter), and the amount of CO2 you’ve saved is calculated. As a bonus, the CO2 savings gets you discounts at local, participating retailers for your efforts.

Shop Till You Drop

Shopping is shopping. If these weren’t free, I’d accuse them of capitalizing on the eco-friendly iPhone users. But they’re really just apps that help you find relevant retail locations nearby. I suppose if you used them to plan your route ahead of time, you’d put out fewer emissions driving back and forth.

  • 3rdWhale (free)
    Much like other location-aware shopping apps (and dare I say, Google Maps?) 3rdWhale finds you businesses nearby (select walking, biking, or driving distances). So what makes it green? The resulting businesses are supposedly eco-friendly, allowing you to patronize those taking care of the world around us.
  • Yowza! (free)
    Not yet out, Yowza! presents one of the more interesting ideas of the bunch. Also location aware, it brings up coupons for retailers nearby. So not only could it save you some cash, but it’s claim is that you can use the digital coupon right on your phone’s screen, rather than printing more paper that will just get tossed out.


In my experience, I wouldn’t say any of these are playing the “green” card for profit — they are all legitimately taking their own shot at saving the environment. Despite some being far less useful than others, (your mileage may vary, of course) their cause is still noble. If you’re thinking it’s time to give something back to Mother Earth, it can’t hurt to give any of these apps a try.

And of course, if you’ve got the goods on a green app that I missed here that’s made a difference for you, please share!

24 Responses to “Go Green: 8 iPhone Apps to Help Save the Planet”

  1. One other great app is called Cool Tree ( ) .

    it’s kind of like a tamagotchi but with trees. And each purchase protects a real tree in threatened areas of the Amazon Basin, you even get a digital certificate of sponsorship and can view your tree by satellite imagery.

    It’s done in association with it’s an app that’s fun and can really help to make a difference.

    Nice to see you doing a feature on apps like this, it would be great if Apple did the same!

  2. mercareth

    Commute Greener! is another app worth a look. It is an app that let you see the CO2 emissions from your daily commute. It take a while make a habit, but it is nice to have a reduction goal and results displayed instantly.

  3. Check out iPhone app “Green Travel Choice”:
    Amazing how much CO2 you actually save by using public transportation instead of your car…
    You just make two clicks on a map and get your CO2 emissions for 9 modes of transport – whether it’s the next trip overseas or just a ride downtown.
    Two initial partners for awareness campaign are The International Ecotourism Society and Cleaner Climate…

  4. Hi!

    Just found this post via twitter and I have to say that you’ve got quite a easy to use blog here. One thing though, it appears like you do not have one of those twitter post thingy’s on your blog. If you put one on I’ll be sure to retweet this entry!

    Here’s my blog if you want to check it out!
    live green

  5. Hi!

    Just found this post via twitter and I have to say that you’ve got quite a nice blog here. However, it seems like you don’t have one of those twitter button thingy’s on your blog. If you add one I’ll be sure to retweet this post!

    Here’s my blog if you want to check it out!
    live green

  6. As long as everyones throwing their apps in the green ring, you should check out our “Green” app named “Green Outlet”

    In this rough economy everyone is trying to find ways to control their budget.  One of the easiest ways to save money is to reduce your electric use and while you save money on your bill your also helping save the environment. It’s a win win situation!

     GO helps you identify which of your household appliances are costing you the most to run so you can make informed decisions about your electric use.

    By selecting the types of appliances you use in your home and entering how many hours of use per day for each green outlet will predict what your electric bill will be for the month and will give you a detailed list of what your appliances are costing you.

    While adding up the financial cost of your appliance use GO also adds up your household Carbon Footprint.

    Green Outlet even alerts you when you have exceeded “Recommended Carbon Useage” based on US Goverment Guidelines.

    GO proudly links to for your Carbon Offset needs.

    When you buy a carbon offset from TerraPass, your money supports clean energy and other projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. TerraPass offset portfolios consist of a mix of clean energy, farm power and landfill gas capture. If you want to decide the quantities of these projects yourself, you can build your own portfolio.

    Find it on iTunes @:

  7. Hi,

    I am very proud to notice you a new *very addictive* game: SAVE THE PLANET

    Your mission is to save the planet from trash!

    When objects appears on the screen just tap the right trashcan to make your collection of items for recycling…sounds easy?!…just try yourself!

    The level is completed, within a given time, when the percentage of recycling is 100%.

    Save the planet becomes harder by increasing of difficulty level!

    – over 45 game levels
    – over 200 objects to recycle
    – original soundtrack
    – over 60 special objects to gain bonus
    – ability to suspend/resume your game

  8. What would really make it green is if it could control the home lighting and HVAC systems. The owner could shut everything down by browsing to his/her electrical home controller page and with a few simple commands turn things on an off. Imagine how much a system like that would save in energy aside from the people who have a system like this that is new and they want to play with it like a toy)).

  9. I’m an iPhone developer, and with 2 of my friends we developed a unique greenenvironmental conceptual app for iPhoneiPod touch.

    The idea is that people send their love to planet earth by sending it a virtual kiss (you actually need to kiss the screen).
    After you submit a kiss, you can see a 3D model of earth (within the app) with all the kisses sent from everyone else worldwide.

    This map is also available at our site:
    (works best with Firefox and Chrome).

    Our product (with all the content mentioned) above is available FOR FREE on Apple’s app store.
    It has been out only 72 hours, with no publicity at all… and already earth is covered with thousands kisses from most of the world!!
    We’re very much exited about this success.

    We also offer a paid version of the product that also allows you to send kisses to your friends via email and SMS (yet, can only be sent to a US mobile phone), and quite soon to the facebook friends as well.


  10. Do you want to start living green and learn how to lead a sustainable life? Join award winning host Dave Egbert and listen live to his new show “Living Green” that is coming soon on! Listen, call-in, email or twitter, as Dave and his guests which include celebrities, prominent individuals and organizations to discuss sustainable and organic topics, issues and ideas for everyone!!

    Saturdays at 9AM-11AM EST

  11. One green app. that I think is incredible is actually not the kind of green app. in your post. It is created as an extension of Cliff Bar’s global warming campaign, especially as it impacts the skiing industry. It’s called “Save Our Snow,” and its a snow report that gets winter enthusiasts involved in what they can do to keep the planet cool and the slopes white. Check it out:

  12. Richard K

    Another electric meter reader app for iPhone has just recently become available. ‘Kilowatts’ from Akkyra Systems lets you take real-time measurements of your power use (if you have a conventional ‘spinning disc’ electric meter). Very simple to use.