Project Details Green Buildings Alive Datalyser

Published on August 31st, 2012 | by Deb



(image above: A great example! )

The ECOS project focuses on the principle that humans can have both a positive and negative impact on ecosystems with both local and global consequence. Its goals are aligned with many of the core elements of effective eco-visualisations. Its primary goals are encouraging playful engagement and exploration with energy and stimulating critical reflection.

The ECOS project draws on the practice of Eco-Visualisation, a term used to encap-sulate the important merging of environmental data visualisation with the philosophy of sustainability. Holmes uses the term Eco-Visualisation (EV) to refer to data visualisations that ‘display the real time consumption statistics of key environmental re-sources for the goal of promoting ecological literacy’ [1]. EVs are commonly artifacts of interaction design, information design, interface design and industrial design, but are informed by various intellectual disciplines that have shared interests in sustainability. As a result of surveying a number of EV projects, Pierce, Odom and Blevis outline strategies for designing and evaluating effective EVs. These strategies include:

  • offering behavioral cues and indicators,
  • providing tools for analysis,
  • creating social incentive to conserve,
  • connecting behaviour to material impacts of consumption,
  • encouraging playful engagement and exploration with energy,
  • projecting and cultivating sustainable lifestyles and values,
  • raising public awareness and facilitating discussion, and
  • stimulating critical reflection. [2]

Froehlich [3] and his colleagues also use the term ‘Eco-feedback technology’ to de-scribe the same field. ‘Green IT’ is another variation which Tomlinson [4] describes as a ‘field at the juncture of two trends… the growing concern over environmental issues’ and ‘the use of digital tools and techniques for manipulating information.’

The ECOS Project team is guided by these principles, but more importantly, propose an example for how these principles may be achieved.

  1. Holmes, T. G.: Eco-visualization: combining art and technology to reduce energy consumption. In: Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 6th ACM SIGCHI conference on Creativity & cognition, pp 153-162. Washington, DC, USA (2007).
  2. Pierce, J., Odom, W., Blevis, E.: Energy aware dwelling: a critical survey of interaction design for eco-visualizations. In: Proceedings of the 20th Australasian Conference on Computer-Human Interaction: Designing for Habitus and Habitat, Cairns, Australia. (2008).
  3. Froehlich, J., Findlater, L., Landay, J.: The design of eco-feedback technology. In:  Proceedings of the 28th international conference on Human factors in computing systems, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. (2010)
  4. Tomlinson, B.: Greening through IT: information technology for environmental sustainability, pp 1-28. MIT Press (2010)

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About the Author

Deb is an academic (QUT), interaction designer (sims, games, DSNs) and researcher (play for change)... The ECOS project is Deb's current obsession.

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