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Singapore Smart Grid Games

Turn the energy consumption and recycling data that is currently only used by planners into an open source live commentary on our environments. Promote competitions and prizes for the towns, developments, blocks and individuals that contribute most.

Photo of James Robertson
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Smart Grid data is collected from individual flats, blocks, entire HDB developments and towns. This data is then vibrantly presented to local residents through playful interactive digital advertisements at Bus Stations and MRT stations, where people feel most connected with their locality. Residents will be able to see how their block or HDB development compares with others locally, and be presented with tips on how to lower their energy costs and recycle their waste more effectively.

Graphics displayed on digital advertising platforms can be either 1 minute video loops or interactive; while waiting for the bus, citizens can check how their apartment or block is faring in comparison to others in the same development. They can check the average consumption and recycling quotas, measure themselves in consumption (per sq ft or per person). Accompanying Apps can be downloaded to iPhones and android devices for people to keep up to date on their consumption while on the move. 

As homes gradually become more aware of their minute by minute consumption, this consciousness will affect decision making, unused lights will be turned off faster, water used with more care and consumables purchased with waste management born in mind.

How does your concept inspire collaboration between individuals, private sector organisations, and the government in an effort to create cleaner neighbourhoods?

Monthly, Quarterly and annual prizes and recognition can be awarded to those who excel; a monthly prize drawn at random from the list of flats who reach A* consumption levels would not only promote regular best practice (instead of simply targeting one month for zero consumption) and also provide a fantastic platform for green-minded companies to promote energy saving appliances. The Quarterly and Annual prize draws that recognize the best-performing families and blocks will provide an opportunity for gathering to celebrate civic pride in responsibility, and a chance to share interests an aspirations with neighbours, growing friendships at the same time.

How might your concept be scaled in a way that creates even more connections between people?

On a wider scale, perhaps there could be scope for environmental responsibility and resource conservation to be linked with HDB upgrading, so that the most aware and deserving neighborhoods are rewarded for their efforts. As the data-set and competitive element grows online, similar systems in other countries can be shared and compared, and civic pride in resource management and recycling becomes further enhanced. Companies can promote successful buildings and developments that have embraced their new smart cities technology in a virtuous circle.

How might you design a small experiment around your concept that would mobilise action?

As a prototype, it would be feasible to select one HDB development, and stir up some competition between 6-8 blocks, (per capita to avoid gross differentials), measuring gas, water, electric consumption, and weight of waste, how much of that is recycled etc.. Prizes could consist of energy saving appliances such as LED TVs, or credit for SMRT cards to encourage more use of public transport.


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Photo of Gaia Montelatici

I am at present cooperating with Three Coins a start-up from Vienna that has very innovative ways of filling the gaps between "knowledge" and behavior in terms of personal finance management. In order to diminish the debt that in which 20% of youth seems to be (according to national stats in Europe), Three Coins uses interactive and creating education and technical assistance through virtual games. Playing such games is supposed to encourage an attitude change towards spending Maybe we can see how to integrate the "interactive virtual game" aspect into the Smart grid Games :)

Photo of James Robertson

Thanks Gaia, that sounds amazing! I am lucky enough to be sitting down with some fellow OpenIDEO-ers this weekend at a 'Make-a-thon' here in Singapore, where we are trying to move forward with some prototyping for a variation of this concept. Keep an eye on the feed for some crowd-sourced collaboration, would be great to bring the virtual team online in real-time!

Photo of James Robertson

By the way It starts on Friday at 1330 Singapore time (GMT + 8 ... I think!) Sure OpenIDEO will be tweeting about it loads, and i'll hope to find a way for the team that is assmebled in person to be able to interact with any members of the virtual team who are still keen to be a part of it all and help push the idea along :)

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