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Real-time guilt

July 13, 2009
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sense of self-satisfaction comes free

sense of self-satisfaction comes free

Rather like every institution looking to get some money out of you in the last couple of years, UPenn seems to have to been making a concerted effort to ‘go green‘ and appear sensitive to the concerns of Mother Nature. Famed Ivy League University, based here in the city of brotherly love, is piloting a new system in its scenic Harnwell College House that allows students to see how much the energy the building is consuming costs at any given time, which a bunch of other schools are also investing in. The Building Dashboard (Oberlin’s version pictured above), developed by Lucid Design Group, throws all kinds of nifty stats at the user, breaking down the usage per person of every utility, and in certain rigged rooms, it can show you how much each outlet and faucet is costing you. All of this is designed to get Penn college students to use less energy, although I’ve got to wonder how much energy the always-on system that’s monitoring 800 people, who can check on it online at any time, is wasting. I quite like the technology, which I think would be a good thing to have for your home, but I’m not sure how effective it’s going to prove to be at curtailing excessive energy use in a giant, old building that’s housing hundreds of less-than-responsible college students.

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