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What changes when energy use becomes visible

If you can actually see your electricity consumption you can reflect your use and become more mindful.

Photo of Anja Kantowsky
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I interviewed Guido, who is leading THEMA1, an independent Berlin-based think-do-tank specialized in accelerating the transition to a low-carbon society.
They have a neat little device in their workshop-room to visualize energy consumption.  This helps to reflect usage and become more mindful in using energy.

The device has the same size as an digital alarm clock. The box displays digital numers - the numbers are constantly changing.
Guido explained that it displays the current electricity usage of his company. We switched off one light and the number lowered.

So I did a brief interview with Guido to find out more:

What changed since you got this device in your office?
Our visitors get curious: "what's this - solar energy on your roof?" - by answering this we get directly to a personal level and their awareness for electricity consumption

What was the motivation to have this device in your office?
It's a great opening to get into the dialogues we need to have with our clients. - and it's fun. 
The last person leaving the office is quickly checking if all loads are switched off  - and thus we save and don't have to worry.


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Photo of Dennis Woo

Excellent, inspires one to think if one could quantify and gamify specific actions with results visible in a dashboard, e.g., turning out a light, opening a refrigerator, leaving a desktop computer running, opening a door (effect on heating/air conditioning power). A profile of energy consumption could develop that would start with individual actions but perhaps lead to information to make building or fixture changes (revolving doors are known to leak less energy ( as individual actions some times lead to local mins or maxes.

In any case, visible feedback -> awareness -> engagement with the issue. Good find, thinking and interview.

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