Changing Energy Use Through Design

9 July, 2008 - 11:21

Interactions Magazine, XV.4 - July / August, 2008

Changing Energy Use Through Design
Authors: James Pierce, David Roedl

When it comes to sustaining ourselves and the planet, non-renewable
energy and the looming consequences of global climate change are among
the most critical issues of our time. In our view, interaction
designers have power and a responsibility to address these issues.
While the creation of a renewable energy economy and infrastructure is
ultimately necessary, it is just as important that we rapidly reduce
current consumption and shift cultural notions about the way energy use
affects our future ways of being. In the developed world, a view has
long pervaded which treats energy as relatively cheap, abundant and
without significant consequence. Even as the public consciousness
around climate change increases, this unsustainable conception
persists. A new mental model is needed, and interaction designers can
and should play a role in bringing this change. Computers and other
digital products and systems consume enormous amounts of electricity.
Moreover, it is daily interactions with the ecology of energy-consuming
products which help construct our underlying conception of and
relationship to energy in general…

This perspective is inspired by the STATIC! research project from the
Interactive Institute, Sweden (http://www.tii.se/static/). Backlund,
S., M. Gyllenswärd, A.Gustafsson, S.I. Hjelm, R. Mazé, and J. Redström.
“STATIC! The Aesthetics of Energy in Everyday Things.” Paper presented
at the DRS Wonderground Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, November 2006.

Read the whole article here.