Watt, Why & How e-Newsletter

Green Gamification: Saving Energy By Making It Fun


Source: www.usda.gov
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Conserving energy is a great way to save money and feel good about yourself, but it also involves a lot of hard work, such as taking shorter showers and changing out light bulbs. Gamification is the latest phenomenon that may help change all of that; motivating and rewarding people for saving energy, and giving them bragging rights with their neighbors and friends. 


What is gamification?

Gamification has become a common buzzword, but what does it actually mean? Simply put, gamification refers to incorporating game elements and design into non-gaming websites and applications. Gamification applications take advantage of people's natural competitiveness, as well as their desire for achievement and recognition. Rewards such as points, badges and status levels are often utilized, and users can compete against others or work in groups.

The concept of gamification is not new, but the growth of social media and the use of mobile devices have led to a surge of interest in using gaming as a way to engage people and get them to do things, such as buy a product or visit a restaurant. 

Taking the green challenge

A number of innovative companies have developed applications that help people better understand their energy use and challenge them to change their lifestyle. 

Practically Green encourages users to take actions to live more sustainably. Actions are separated into four categories: Water, Energy, Stuff and Health. Measures such as lifecycle impact, greenhouse gas emissions and chemical toxicology are used to calculate the potential impact of actions taken and build a point system in each category. As users take actions, they earn points and can move up levels from Barely Green to Superbly Green. Actions range from turning off lights when you leave a room (10 points) to adding insulation (100 points). Users can participate individually, or as part of a group.

Simple Energy has an online platform that tracks user's energy consumption and compares their energy use to that of their neighbors or Facebook friends. Users can amass points through energy-saving actions, such as upgrading to energy-efficient light bulbs, while competing for prizes.  

Leafully helps utility customers visualize their Green Button data as a variety of units, such as the amount of trees needed to offset an individual’s energy usage. Leafully encourages users to set energy-saving goals and share their progress on Facebook.

Recyclebank allows users to earn points and win rewards for saving energy, recycling around the home, purchasing green products and other aspects of living a more sustainable lifestyle. Rewards include discounts or gift cards for restaurants, coffee shops and retail outlets, or free magazine subscriptions.

While saving energy and living a more sustainable lifestyle is more than a game, gamification helps you have a lot more fun doing it.

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