Session spotlight: Giving occupants the power to save energy | U.S. Green Building Council
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Published on
Posted in Industry
Published on
Posted in Industry

Let’s "clear the desk" of vampire, unused and underused energies!

In the Greenbuild 2013 education session, “Energy Chickens and Dashboard Players: Giving Occupants the Power to Save Energy,” audience members will learn how interactive play—an exciting, new generation of communication tools-games and dashboards—can save energy and improve environmental quality.

Session speakers Vivian Loftness, Professor of Architecture at Cornell University, and Brian Orland, Distinguished Professor of Landscape Architecture at Pennsylvania State University; and Myer Harrell, Associate at Weber Thompson and member of the Greenbuild Program Working Group, offer an inside look at this upcoming session. 

What’s the topical focus of your session?

Vivian Loftness: Give desktop controls back to the occupants and energy will be saved!

Brian Orland: Feedback on energy use to change behavior. Complementary serious games and dashboard approaches encourage and reward energy saving behavior.

Why is the topic of this session important?

Vivian Loftness: At least 30% of our electric use for desktop technology is useless, offering you no comfort or service. Figuring out where the waste is and taking charge (no pun intended) will be an easy contribution from each of us to reducing our environmental footprint

Brian Orland: Changing people's behavior is the biggest remaining lever for reducing energy use. Buildings don't care how comfortable they are, or how effectively they conserve energy--people do 

Myer Harrell: Because without user participation from building tenants, the greenest buildings will not perform, no matter how sophisticated the design and construction.

Why should Greenbuild attendees attend this session specifically?

Vivian Loftness: Give control back to the occupants for comfort and energy will be saved! for some, games like energy chickens are the answer, for others live energy information, recommendations and simple controls. Come see and touch the games and dashboards for your office desk!

Brian Orland: While social media and feedback have been extensively deployed to effect energy reduction, we have conducted some of the first field evaluations at large scale in real-world settings. And where else at Greenbuild will you encounter Energy Chickens?

Myer Harrell: This session offers to weave together themes from Greenbuild 2012 in San Francisco in ongoing conversations about next steps in operational building efficiency. Jane McGonigal told us (in the 2012 Closing Plenary) how gaming will save the world, and we saw previews of new technology in the home with the Nest, a smart thermostat the influences good (i.e. energy efficient) behavior. This would be valuable for anyone interested in the intersection of green building, operations, and user-interface design.

What’s the most interesting experience you’ve had in the green building/sustainability world?

Vivian Loftness: Hmm… designing a solar village in Greece with Alexandros Tombazis that provides comfort and free energy to hundreds of low income residents in Lykovrissi.

Brian Orland: Discovering that there is no such thing as the average work day, no such person as the average office worker. Finding their average energy use is like finding a unicorn

What’s the most interesting non-green building related fact about yourself?

Vivian Loftness: Born in Stockholm with a flower pot under the bed filled with U.S. soil so I can run for president....

Brian Orland: I co-direct a study abroad program on food and fuel security in Tanzania.

Myer Harrell: I am a 2nd-degree brown belt in Judo. At least I was... injuries have kept me off the mat in recent years.

Interested in creating the education program at Greenbuild? There are numerous Committees and Working Groups that you can join. The 2014 Call for Expressions of Interest is open from October 7, 2013 and ends November 29, 2013. Learn more about the application process beginning October 7.