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The Beer Minder.... And how it could lead communities to changing their behaviors

With the advent of connected devices, there is a new game in town. That is the BeerMinder, a project being worked on at FirstBuild, a new co-creative appliance company that is using online collaboration to develop cool new appliances. The beer minder essentially is a counter for the amount of beers a person consumes, and it broadcasts this information to a screen or other devices so that people know who is drinking what and how many beers are being taken out of the fridge. So what does this have to do with Energy? Well, imagine if the same game was done with light switches and other things that consume energy. Would this help change a communities behavior?

Photo of Nyko de Peyer
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The trick to bringing renewable energy to market is in the incentives. One of the best incentives that have proven very effective is the use of personal scores. We use them right here on OpenIDEO and they seem pretty effective--- I'm sure all of us have checked our "meters" at least once. 

The beer minder which is under development at firstbuild may not seem like it has much to do with energy or bringing renewables to market faster. But the concept behind it could actually help. 

To learn more about the concept, check out the project here:

People like beer. People do not like paying money for things. And people like numbers, especially if they are good numbers. 

The beer minder keeps track of how many beers an individual removes from a refrigerator over a given period of time. The score that is displayed for that user shows others who is taking out beer and how frequently. That said, you don't want to be the person who is seen as the beer hog. 

So lets move this over to energy use. If you had an energy meter that publicly displayed your energy use to others in a community, and also displayed what types of energy you were pulling from, and HOW that energy was being used (you used this much energy for heating water, this much for cooking, this much for lighting, this much for refrigeration, this much for HVAC, this much for devices etc..) and that information was shared amongst a community, and also scored, it could drastically change the way people consume energy, the same way the beer minder has changed the way people cosume beer at a public space like an office. 


Please indicate which type of energy is most relevant to this post

  • My post doesn't mention a specific type of energy

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Photo of Joanna Spoth

This ties in perfectly with our Opportunity Area "Talk the Talk" in the Ideas phase! Hope to see you there, Nyko. You have some very cool thoughts coming through.