Viser innlegg fra februar, 2009

Social energy meters

"If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it."
— Lord Kelvin

This quote is central to a range of services that enables the concious energy consumer. The services build upon the activities of measuring, organizing and sharing your private energy consumption data. Originally this activity was done to keep you energy bills at bay, but today this is emerging as a collective effort to reduce global impact of greenhous gases. Statistics inform us that accsess to home energy information results in savings of 5-15% on the energy bill with comparable savings for the environment.

Google Power Meter - focus on display & share
Google recently announced through an initiative for the collection, organization and utilization of domestic energy consumption through Google Power Meter. Although they are not the first, it is worth noticing when the one of the biggest companies on collection, organization and utilization of data enters this field. With partners such as GE (sell…

The SunCat Batteries - DIY prototypes

Rechargeable Batteries with Solar Cells
Project by Knut Karlsen

At home i always have some batteries lying around, either rechargeable or normal ones. Usually they are empty, but i'd like them to be always fully charged. I could use a normal charger and there is a lot of solar devices that charge rechargeable batteries. I wanted it simpler; why hasn't anyone made a battery with integrated solar cells? The idea of the "SunCat" batteries where born. The batteries should just bask in the sun like a cat and left for a while, in a sunny window, they would slowly recharge.

During my research for my diploma i was in touch with scientists at IFE that experimented with the production of flexible solar cells. They where kind enough to send me some samples in the right dimensions that i could use for the prototypes (full set at flickr):

I had some older NiMH rechargeable batteries that i glued the flexible Photo Voltaic (PV) cells onto. The PV cells are rated at 1.8V and…

Interviews and concept development

Going through my notebook i've started to weed out some concepts. As of now they are rather unorganized, but they range from rather technical to "design for discussion" projects. I'll detail them shortly.
I will shortly arrange a workshop to elaborate more on the concepts. A goal here should be to focus the concepts into maximum three directions.

I'm also going through a round of interviews with families with different backgrounds. They are not complete or written in a useful format yet, but they are available from my skydrive here:

What have i learnt?
Based on just the three first interviews it is clear that knowledge and experience with renewable energy is very varied amongst the subjects. The different backgrounds leads to different motivation that have a big impact on their thoughts regarding renewable energy. In daily life unplugging leads and switching off lights seems to be a common trait. Again, the focus on lighting as an environmental culprit is a bit stran…

Sustainable power is unsustainable

A recent article on sheds some light upon an issue with renewable energy. Various technological innovations are regulary presented as magic bullets that will change our energy production. The article by Colin Barras explain how quite a few rare and non renewable resources are part of this technology and if adapted at a large scale the technology could actually deplete some reseources quite fast. Indium and Platinum are used as examples in this case.

After doing quite a bit of research on the technology and politics there is not that many places one does find critique of this field, though size of installations in nature is a common debate. I have mentioned it in previous articles on this blog, that critique of both old and new paradigms within any field of work are extremly important to innovation. Innovations in renewable energy are often hyped like magic bullets. The result is a Sci-Fi impression of a white and sustainable future. But again, as the article touch upon…

I Switch

I was working on a concept on switches when i decided to look into switches i press daily at home. Took some pictures to see if i could use them for something. Never mind the grime and dust :)

Danish interaction design

Found this at core77. It is a collection of works from students at the Danish Design School presented in an edible format. AHO should do something similar!

Limited resources

Just to add to the previous post on concepts: The limited electrical supply could be generated by a community wind turbine. What is the front end for the inhabitant of individual appartments in this configuration?

Green actions from engaging interfaces

"A green action is something you do to reduce your environmental footprint".

I have found a couple of examples that points to the direction where i believe designers can contribute with key knowledge to facilitate green actions. The right information at the right time might enable you to choose the green action over the unsustainable action in the moment of the deciscion.

Prius consumption monitor

from Boulder to Detroit 529
Originally uploaded by this user The image of the screen displaying "Consumption" in a Toyota Prius is a good example for a system that display relevant information in the moment of action. The information encourages you to choose the greener action by visualizing the reward you would get by reducing your "pedal pressure". The reward in this case is more miles per gallon (MPG), which is a common parameter for comparing how economical a car is to drive. The screen also display how you are doing on a longer timescale by plotting data from …