Energy Visualization in Japan August 3, 2011Posted by reto wettach in ecoviz, gamification, innovative interfaces, sustainable interaction design.
Because of the horrible disaster in Japan only 17 out of 55 nuclear plants are currently operating. Therefore there is a high need of reducing energy consumption.
One oft the measures taken is a visualization of the current energy consumption. On this website, TEPCO, the company operating the broken plants of Fukushima, is showing real time data about energy consumption, and comparing it with last year’s consumption, the day’s maximum supply and demand from the day before:
(image source, screenshot taken today)
According to this article in the New York Times, so far forecasts and actual use have hovered around 75 percent of maximum capacity, “thanks to unseasonably cool weather brought on by a typhoon”.
I doubt whether this tool will really make people change their behavior. It does not really help to understand one’s personal impact on reduction of energy consumption as the graph is displaying the total Electricity use within TEPCO’s service area. This includes not only a huge population, but also many industrial facilities.
So, I guess it would make more sense to break this information down to individual consumption of households and companies. Furthermore, I suggest that applying simple rules of gamification (goal setting, comparison to similar units, communicating personal behaviors, etc.) would help to support the good will of the motivated population. Especially in Japan, where the society is very transparent (just think of paper doors and walls), I assume that making one’s energy consumption more transparent would motivate people – and not make them feel like living in Orwell’s 1984 – at least when the form of displaying this information is designed correctly.