Dylan Cunningham

EnerGlow

A light that promotes saving energy by responding to real-time electricity usage.

As climate change persists, it is increasingly important to find ways to reduce our electricity consumption because the cleanest energy is energy we don’t use. By reducing electricity consumption we can transition away from fossil fuels more rapidly, which will help us meet our climate goals. With this in mind, my research explores how people interact with energy–in an effort to design ways to reduce consumption–in the age of climate change. Along the way, I concluded that one way to do this is to increase the visibility of our consumption.

Challenge

The biggest challenge was identifying an intervention that would spark positive behavioural changes to address the problem. Also pressing was  considering how to intervene in the large and complex energy landscape. I gathered insights from previous energy and behaviour research. Then, I created an educational toolkit that helped me uncover my own insights, like the disconnect between electricity awareness and actual usage. From there I brainstormed and prototyped a handful of design scenarios and other possible solutions.

Outcome

The outcome was EnerGlow, a responsive light that promotes saving energy. It’s designed to help households know when they are using a lot of electricity so they can use less. The light receives real-time data from smart meters and lights up to signal when a household is using high amounts of electricity. It encourages consumers to react by turning off things they’re not using to reduce their usage. During tests, one household that installed an EnerGlow used 45% less electricity within the first 30 days.

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