Stanford University professor Byron Reeves thinks that the key to getting people to actively reduce their home electricity use is to make it a competition. At the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change conference, he proposed the idea of combining smart meters with online gaming.
His idea would feed a home's smart meter data into a massive multi-player online game where the more you reduce energy consumption, the more points you gain. All homeowners in the online community would be competing, but also working together for a common good. The concept is based on hugely popular games like World of Warcraft and Second Life. A demo video is available here.
Reeves is an expert in psychological processing of media and he believes this game would work because people work hardest towards goals where they have an emotional investment. Both the feeling of competition and the sense of community that an online gaming platform would provide, would cause people to be more engaged in reducing their home energy use.
Reeves said that the Department of Energy and utility companies have expressed interest in his idea. Personally, I'd love to see this game come to life. Not only would it be a motivator for people to save energy, but competition breeds new ideas. Who knows what players would come up with to one-up their virtual neighbors? Some really useful tricks could come out of this!
written by seamus O'Byrne-Inglis, January 15, 2009
written by gmoke, January 15, 2009
written by Royce Fullerton, January 18, 2009
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