Do you want to teach your children about what it takes to power on the TV or their favorite video game? Ever wonder how much water you really use when you’re in the shower?

Gadgets to encourage greener living are facing off in an online design competition at, and the winners may appear in stores soon.

The contest is part of the 2009 Greener Gadgets Conference, which will be held in New York City at the end of the month and offers a variety of new and creative ways to make everyday items green, including new technologies, new ways to recycle e-waste and discussions on why businesses should do their part to protect the environment.

Among the devices with the most votes is Bware Water Meter, a gadget that Triangle residents could find useful in a drought. Bware measures how many liters of water are used in showers, faucets and even when flushing the toilet.

Do you have an exercise machine in your home or office? Do you want to lower your energy bills by putting a little back onto the grid? The Inlet “Outlet” offers to do just that. A panel like an outlet can be added to capture energy created inside buildings. It can be harnessed from exercise equipment, a flag waving in the wind, or even your hamster running in his wheel. Local gyms could create more energy than they use if the Inlet “Outlet” becomes available.

Voting ends Feb. 20 and winners will be determined during the conference on Feb. 27.