Social Energy


Buildings consume more than a third of the energy used in the United States, but most people have no sense of how much their actions can affect a building's energy use. We are testing the hypothesis that if people have a convenient way to record their energy use and learn ways to improve it, they will change their habits. We have created visualizations of HVAC use throughout the Media Lab to test this hypothesis in a large-scale space. The system uses touch-screen networked displays strategically placed throughout the building to convey real-time and historical temperature and thermostat settings, and ultimately electric usage. Not only can people see a heat map of their lab area, they can also observe trends and compare their energy usage to those in other areas.