100 Best iPhone Apps for Students Going Green

As a proud iPhone owner, you’re probably aware (and obsessed) with all the cool ways you can use your cell. From surfing the internet and touch-screen texting to navigating your way around cities, and oh yeah, making calls, the Apple iPhone is one of the most fascinating technological wonders of our time. But did you know it could save the world? That’s right: with the help of the following applications, your phone can provide daily tips for going green, calculate your carbon footprint, find the nearest organic market, and even help you charge your phone in a more energy-efficient manner. These awesome applications are perfect for the earth-conscious student.

Top 10

Green iPhone owners have raved for years about how great the following applications are. Based on usability, cost, and effectiveness, these t10 apps are the hands-down best.

  1. Go Green: Displays a tip each time you launch it. Piece of pie.
  2. Green Tips: Displays a tip at launch. Hit the refresh button for more tips.
  3. The Green Lemur: By far the most full-featured of these three. Search, add tips to favorites, or browse by category.
  4. Meter Read: 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.
  5. greenMeter: 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.
  6. shopgreen: 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.
  7. 3rd Whale: Much like other location-aware shopping apps, 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.
  8. Yowza: 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.
  9. Green Charging: This application ensures you do not overcharge your phone.
  10. Green Wars: Now you can take on the challenge of earning green while going green. Green Wars is a new take on the classic DOS and TI-83 game Drug/Dope Wars. This simple but enjoyable buy-low-sell-high game can also help you learn a thing or two about how you can save green by going green in your own life.

Calculating Your Carbon Footprint

Make sure you’re not walking around in clown shoes. And don’t just calculate the size of your footprint, find out ways to reduce your imact as well.

  1. Carbon Calc: Input your driving, flying and home energy use to get a handle on your carbon footprint, then browse and purchase carbon offsets. This app doesn’t take into account public transportation, food consumption and other activities with impactful carbon footprints.
  2. Carbon Pulse: Helps you monitor emissions from your driving habits, keep up with pledges to live more sustainably, and give you clean tech news to keep you motivated for shrinking your carbon footprint. Integrates Twitter and Facebook so you can share your successes with friends.
  3. iCarbon: This app is perfect for calculating your carbon footprint and getting suggestions on how to reduce your impact.
  4. Green You: Factors in transportation, housing, foods, goods and services to come up with your carbon footprint, then helps you devise and stick to a plan for reducing it. Tracks your progress over time.
  5. G.Warming Personal Calculator: Looking at your car, home and air travel information, calculates your carbon footprint and compares it to US citizens, but can also be used to compare to other countries.

Offset Your Carbon Footprint

We aren’t all earth saints, but we can all make a difference. Whether you’re guilty of leaving your car running idle, not recycling, or keeping your computer plugged in all day, there are plenty of ways to make up for lost time.

  1. Carbon Offset Your Phone: Part of the proceeds goes toward offsetting the carbon footprint of your iPhone. The app then gives you updated environmental news, videos and tips for reducing your carbon footprint.
  2. Carbon Catcher: A carbon offset tool, you pay for credits and then offset your carbon-intensive activities throughout the day. Offset travel, meals and fuel, and learn about the impacts of your activities.
  3. ShopGreen: Geared specifically towards shoppers. Calculate your carbon footprint, take steps to reduce it, and the more you reduce it, the more you earn location-specific deals at sustainable businesses.
  4. Green Outlet: Works as a substitute for power monitor. Enter in your appliances and estimated usage, and it predicts your energy bill. It provides ideas on where you can cut back energy use by showing you which appliances are costing you the most. You can also buy carbon offsets through TerraPass.
  5. Kilowatts Electric Meter Reader: Monitor your home’s electricity use in real time by taking precise measurements of your meter. Does not work with digital electric meters, only conventional meters since in order to take the reading, you need to time the rotation of the dial. Helps you monitor and improve energy use.
  6. Kill-o-watts: Enter your appliance information and energy usage statistics, and Kill-O-Watts tells you how much energy your appliances are consuming and what it costs you. Choose from 120 appliances on record, or create your own specific appliance. Compare energy stats of appliances before purchasing, and get tips for curbing energy use.
  7. GasWaterPower: Get a quick, at-a-glance look at your home energy consumption. The developers purposefully made this as simple as possible. You enter your own info for this app; it can’t read your meter.
  8. My Usage Mobile: If you have a smart meter, this app allows you to check out your home energy and water usage data anytime, helping you better manager your carbon footprint, your resource usage, and your monthly bills.
  9. iGuides Energy Tips: Access tons of tips for reducing energy use in your home, including heating and cooling, insulation, windows, and more.
  10. SolarPV: Find out what solar PV system you need to be able to go off grid with your electricity. Includes system size, number of panels, amount of space, cost estimate and helps you design the perfect PV system for you.

Home Solar Power Systems

Yes, believe it or not, your phone is capable of a LOT more than you ever dreamed. Like allowing Cortexa users to control air conditioning and lights using their iPhone as a remote.

  1. Cortexa: In conjunction with Cortexa home automation system, you can automate your home, controlling lighting, heating and cooling, etc. to minimize energy use.
  2. Power Saver Home: Calculate how much money you can save each year by changing out your light bulbs. Provides estimated energy savings, time span for realizing a return on investment, and the lifespan of new CFL bulbs.
  3. Green Charging: Launch the app when you start charging your phone, and it’ll notify you with sound and vibration when your battery is fully charged so that you’re sure to unplug your charger when finished.
  4. i am green: Make changes to your phone and computer settings to conserve battery life, charge your phone less, and reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, a tree is planted when you buy the app. Take quizzes, compete on energy savings with people around the world, and get tips and notifications.
  5. CFL Light Bulb Savings Calculator: In three quick steps, you can calculate how much money you’ll save by converting light bulbs to CFLs. You can customize the calculations to ensure it is accurate, including your location, electricity pricing, cost of purchasing bulbs and so on.
  6. Wind Speed Converter: If you use wind chargers – handheld chargers or personal wind turbines – this could be handy. It converts wind speeds between the most common units.

Getting Around

This is where being green is the hardest. Most people drive every day, which can have a devastating impact on the world in which we live. So make a difference, and start with these:

  1. Velo: For cities that have bike sharing programs, this app helps you immediately locate nearby bikes or free spaces to park your bike.
  2. Bike Your Drive by REI: Using your phone’s GPS, this app calculates how much gas you saved by not driving, how many calories you burned, and carbon you saved. You can geotag photos you take along your ride, find out speeds, elevations and a lot more. In other words, your ride becomes even more interesting.
  3. MyBikeInfo: Keep track of every part of your bike, including measurements, so finding replacement parts is a breeze. Perfect for people who take apart their bikes often for travel. Also includes a bike news RSS feed.
  4. Path Tracker: Track your walks, including time traveled, average speed, elevation and more. Good for tracking not only walks but also hikes, runs, bike routes and so on.
  5. AroundMe: The app quickly identifies where you are and shows you the nearest bank, hotel, movie theater, restaurant, market and so on. With nearby businesses so easy to locate, you might be more inclined to walk or bike to what’s close, rather than drive to what isn’t.
  6. Nearby: Easily an app that can be customized for green thanks to user generated content, Nearby gives you location-based notes, photos and stories about everything close to where you are. An excellent way to explore your city and find out things you had no idea existed, but were right around the corner from you.
  7. AirYell: Find out what businesses are around you, pin down what you’re searching for, and then access a map that traces the best route for you to take to get there.
  8. New York Nearest Subways: Using your phone’s camera, this augmented reality app shows you exactly where the nearest subway is and helps you navigate through the underground lines. Hold your phone in front of you and start walking.
  9. iTrans: Search train and subway stations, find schedules, access maps, and find the nearest stations with this app. iTrans has apps for several major cities, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London and more.
  10. UniBus: Based on public Google Transit Feed Specification (GTFS), it estimates arrival times of buses, subways and trains. Supports multiple cities across United States, Canada and Australia.


If you’re going to drive, do it right. Gone are the days of gas-guzzlers and ten miles to the gallon. Start hypermiling today: all you need is your car and your iPhone.

  1. Zipcar: If you’re a member of Zipcar, this app helps you locate and reserve a car from anywhere. View upcoming reservations, get directions to your car, and more.
  2. AccuFuel: Instantly see how your driving habits affect your fuel efficiency so you can hypermile more effectively. Track multiple vehicles.
  3. Traffic: Avoid traffic by retrieving the current traffic conditions and incidents in the area and overlay them on a map, or display them in a customized listing.
  4. PrimoSpot Parking: Find places to park your bike. (And car.) Works in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Boston areas. Anything that makes parking easier so you’re not driving around spewing GHGs, or that makes cycling simpler, gets a thumbs up.
  5. CarStat: Track all the stats of your car, from fuel consumption to mileage so that you keep your car in fuel-efficient condition.
  6. iGas Up: An accurate collection of U.S. retail gas and diesel prices. Launch the app and see the 10 cheapest U.S. stations closest to your current location. If you’re still using a gas-powered car, this is a way to save money.
  7. GasBag Pro: Similar to iGasUp, find cheap gas stations nearby. It’s the fully-featured version of GasBag that has no ads, a larger map, and a faster load time. It also adds the ability to track multiple cars in the logbook.
  8. GasHog: Enter the odometer reading of your car, the amount of fuel added and the total cost every time you add fuel, and GasHog automatically calculates the fuel economy of your last tank, as well as historical averages.
  9. CarCare: Track your gas mileage statistics and get regular reminders about car maintenance so your car stays in tip top shape for fuel efficiency.


Whether by air, train, bus, or bike, these apps provide the best tips for living green and loving the earth.

  1. Twavel: Make green travel choices and shows how even little differences you make add up to a big footprint. Built-in social networking so you can share and get tips from other green travelers.
  2. OffMaps: Download new maps for wherever you are onto your phone, and access them offline. Unlimited maps, for anywhere in the world. Access Wikipedia and save notes within the maps so you can create your own travel book on your phone.
  3. hiCard: Ditch the carbon footprint of sending paper postcards while you’re traveling. The app lets you send e-cards with photos you take on your phone.
  4. Lonely Planet Travel Guide: Save trees and forget about the paper books. Get all your Lonely Planet guides on your phone. Guides are available for all the popular destinations of the world.
  5. Hiking Calculator: Calculate your hike’s duration, find out how much water you should pack with you, and calories burned (so you know how many organic snacks to take.)
  6. iLocate Parks: Find information about all the parks in the area, plus directions for getting to them. Whether you’re on vacation or at home, you’ll know where green spaces are located.
  7. DrinkingWater: The idea for this one is great for helping people ditch bottled water – find all the free drinking fountains in the historical center of Rome. We’d love to see this app expanded to more places so it’s easier to find free drinking water anywhere.
  8. Bluewalks Walking Tours: Forget the bus tours – grab your phone and go for a guided walk. Travelers and locals guide you through tours focusing on architecture, books, movies or whatever suits your interests. You can create your own walking tour for others to enjoy as well.
  9. TrackMyTour: Make sure everyone on your trip knows where each other is located. When you’re on a bike tour, hiking trip, walking tour or other activity, you can ping other people in your party so no one gets lost.

Nurturing Nature

From hiking and biking to identifying birds, trees, and flowers, students who care about the earth will likely love these nature-friendly iPhone apps.

  1. Peterson Field Guide to Backyard Birds: Get to know your feathered friends. Grab this app and head outside. App comes with images, recorded bird songs and calls, quizzes, and will filter species for your geographic area, among many other features.
  2. Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Prey: Many of the same features as the Backyard Birds guide, this one focuses specifically on raptors.
  3. Trees: Featuring 35 trees found in North America, head out into the woods and see what arboreal species you can identify.
  4. Treeld: Specific to the UK, this app will help you identify trees native to Britain. You’re asked a series of questions about the tree to help ensure you’re identifying it correctly. It’ll tell you in percentages the likeliness that the identification is accurate.
  5. Wildflowers: This app is probably more popular in the spring. It features 68 flower species common to North America. It’s a great way to know what you’re looking at the next time you see a flower you like.
  6. Whale Song Project: Streams the songs of the whales in Kihei Harbor. Live whale music, on your phone – so cool. The project is dedicated to bringing awareness to whales, and app purchases help to keep the project going.

Eco News

These days, green is everywhere, even in the U.S. Congress. Don’t miss a minute of green news; let your phone keep track of everything you need to know.

  1. GenGreenTips: Get a tip for going green on your phone, fresh each morning.
  2. The Green Brief: Get tips for green living, and even better, get green news from leading sources sent straight to your phone. Stay current on green happenings.
  3. Get Green: Daily tips for the green life covering a vast array of topics, from eco-friendly workplaces to low footprint Halloween decorations. Filters tips to come up during appropriate seasons and holiday events so you get relevant information for what’s happening right then.
  4. Green Spot Lite: Get news, podcasts, editorials and more on sustainable green living. From organic gardening to sustainable business to eco-friendly design all from all the major news sources, including CBS, CNN, USA Today, Yahoo and more.
  5. Ecoki: Get eco news delivered to you daily, including reviews, vegan recipes, lifestyle news and tips.
  6. iNews Green Tech: Get the latest green tech news on your iPhone. You can save it for offline reading, email stories to friends, and add news feeds. Sources include CNET, Scientific American, Yahoo, and more.
  7. Green Living: O’Reilly Media has put out this manual that helps making eco-minded decisions easier. Loaded up with advice for work habits, home routine changes, shopping and other areas of life where we could use a little help greening up.
  8. Green Book Lite: A fat reference guide and tips resource for green living. Easily accessible information, and shows how even tiny steps can make big impacts.
  9. Discovery Channel: Get video clips from Myth Busters, Man vs. Wild and other great shows, plus news, photo galleries, quizzes and other cool earth-oriented information.
  10. Huffington Post: Huffington Post maintains an excellent green news section, which you can access through this app. Stay on top of the latest in green happenings.

Green Thinking

Being green isn’t a trend, it’s a lifestyle. To be a tree hugger, you have to think like one first. Let these apps help you make the jump into greenness.

  1. Recycler: Know which plastics are recyclable, and navigate the sometimes confusing recycling stream. Helps you keep track of which can be recycled by your pick up.
  2. A Real Tree: When you buy this app, a real tree is planted in one of 12 countries fighting deforestation, including Brazil, Zambia, Haiti and others around the globe. The app developers are in partnership with the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP).
  3. iPhorest: Every time you plant a virtual tree on your phone, a real one is planted. The effort is a partnership of iPhactory, EcoLife and The Conservation Fund. Plant your tree, watch it grow and flourish, and know that there are real trees out there doing the same thing every time you plant a new one on your phone.
  4. iRecycle: Earth 911 helps us recycle more effectively with this app. Access information on over 100,000 recycling centers nationwide where over 200 materials can be dropped off. Get directions to the nearest facilities, and call them directly from the search results.
  5. Ecofinder: Specific to the San Francisco, California area – but we’re hoping the idea will spread. With the help of app developers, the city has created a tool that tells residents what materials can be recycled, what recycling resources are available, and the easiest ways to dispose of various materials.

Good Green Times

Nobody said saving the earth would be easy, but it sure can be fun.

  1. ECOcal: An interactive daily calendar of the earth and stars, with lots of interesting facts about wildlife and astronomy. Beautifully illustrated.
  2. Save Our Snow: Clif Bar wants you to ski smartly to save the planet. It ranks ski resorts based on sustainability, as well as gives loads of information on ski conditions at those resorts.
  3. GreenGames: An oxymoron in name and premise, this game nevertheless may prove to be a good time. Buy low, sell high is the goal, and it focuses on sustainable products like reusable shopping bags. Plays on green consumerism.
  4. Geocaching Toolkit: For geocachers, get your waypoints, decrypt hints quickly, and easily make calculations that will get you from cache to cache.
  5. H20 Mission: Learn about water pollution with this fun game. The goal is to keep pollutants out of the water supply, or send it to recycling if it becomes too contaminated while still collecting enough water to sustain yourself.
  6. EarthLite: Cool earth trivia. Play with your friends, or just grow your brain.
  7. Star Walk: This augmented reality app guides you as you look at the stars. Point your phone at the night sky and learn what constellations, planets and individual stars you’re seeing.


As a consumer, you will be faced with choices to buy cheap and deadly or green and healthy. From choosing biodegradable products to organic fruits and vegetables, to fair trade coffee, you’ll likely need some help finding the right groceries. Lucky for you, iPhone owner, your best green friend is by your side.

  1. Greenpeace Tissue: Not sure which toilet paper or tissue paper is made from sustainably harvested wood or recycled paper? This app will tell you, helping you find which brands contain the most recycled content so you can make a decision that saves trees.
  2. Find Green: Quickly find businesses and stores that are the most sustainable so you shop more conscientiously. Contains a database of over 56,000 businesses across 23 major industries, with more being added.
  3. GoodGuide: While shopping, this app will guide you through just how green a product is. Search its massive database of over 70,000 products for everything from soap to soy milk. Find out what is in the product, and how healthy it is for you and the environment.
  4. Coupon Sherpa: Leave paper behind and get your coupons on your phone. The barcodes show up on your screen, which you show at checkout. We wish the coupons were a little broader in terms of how green the products are. But paperless where possible is a good thing.
  5. GarageBuy: Brings eBay to your mobile, allowing you to search for, bid on and track purchases. We especially like it for helping to buy secondhand from indie retailers.
  6. Craigslist: Craigslist is heaven for a greenie. Search, browse, post and respond to Craigslist items. Loads of great features make it easier to find and keep track of items you need or are donating or selling.
  7. Local Reuse: Keep items in the consumer stream. Use the app to donate or call dibs on an item within your neighborhood. Post and search within geographical area, category, description, and includes images.
  8. Gorgeously Green: Shopping for sustainable cosmetics and personal care products is easier with this app, walking you through the hazards of choosing beauty products. Tells you where it’s most important to buy organic, and the toxic materials that are in various products.
  9. Cruelty Free: Easy shopping guide that shows you which companies and products are cruelty free. Lists over 200 US and Canadian companies that don’t use animal testing.
  10. Greenopia: Specific to Los Angeles area, but a great idea for app developers to take to other locations. Easy guide for area’s green businesses. Access directories of over 1,000 shops and products, and access reviews. Browse your surroundings with an aerial map.
  11. GoOrganic: Enter your zipcode to find stores near you where you can pick up a free coupon book of organic products and foods.
  12. Locavore: A tool for people who want to buy local foods and goods. Shows you local retailers, farmers’ markets, restaurants that buy from local farmers and so on.
  13. Soleil Organics: If you can’t get to a farmers’ market and you’re stuck in a grocery store, and you’re on a shoestring budget, this app will tell you when you should splurge on organics, and when you can skip it.

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