Climate change and social media competitions

Last week at Ecobuild, at the end of his BIM and social media presentation (see EE post), Birmingham-based architect Rob Annable wondered if it might be possible to use energy usage monitoring tools such as Pachube in combination with social media as a way of creating energy efficiency competitions between building occupiers.

According to Earth2Tech (Green Social Network Startups Tap Competition to Fight Climate Change), there are already at least two US firms, Carbonrally and Climate Culture, that are aiming to use the power of social networks on the web to tackle climate change. Carbonrally is already working on a project with US teen magazine, Seventeen, to create – at this stage, not particularly challenging – competitions to take actions to reduce carbon emissions, while Climate Culture is targeting university students to get them to pledge to reduce emissions.

And late last month, AMEE (like Rob and Pachube, a participant in Be2camp 2008) and PriceWaterhouseCoopers announced the launch of a Facebook application, Carbon Bigfoot by PwC, that enables environmentally conscious individuals to calculate their carbon footprint based upon three metrics: shelter, commute and devices. The application can be automatically added to Facebook status updates and shared among friends. Users can also compare their carbon footprint with friends and exchange ideas to lessen their environmental impact.

While the Web 2.0/Generation Y cohort are more likely to incorporate carbon-cutting actions into their online social networking, these initiatives currently sound a little superficial. Wouldn’t it be better if these challenges were monitored to see what measurable reductions were actually being achieved? Maybe Usman Haque and his Pachube colleagues should approach these firms and/or their competition partners and offer some support? Maybe there’s scope for similar campaigns run by UK organisations that could build on the US efforts to embrace social networks and give some demonstrable emission reductions?

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    • Holly Powell on 10 March 2009 at 8:32 am
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    Thanks for sharing this post. It is very pleasant to know that social media has an impact with regards to climate change.. I think it is a big help.. Looking forward to reading other great posts..

  1. […] Environment – Increasing pressure to incorporate sustainable design into all projects … will come from employees, among others. Corporate social responsibility is a powerful measure of a company’s reputation when job-hunting say graduates, while 83% of employees say a company’s positive CSR reputation increases their loyalty and motivation. (see also Climate change and social media¬†competitions) […]

  2. […] Rob’s presentation was, for me, the highlight of the seminar. Rob described how Axis encouraged local residents to give feedback about a new neighbourhood scheme via blogging, phonecams, RSS and other user-generated content. Last week, with Slider Studio they launched YouCanPlan – a web-based interface that allowed individuals to give detailed feedback on design proposals, even to chat with the designers online. Rob showed a photo of a 14-year-old boy getting involved with BIM processes and said teenagers (a key target for the consultation, and one often ignored by conventional consultation processes) were quick to adopt the online tools, then helping their parents/carers to follow suit. Talking about social media, Rob described Pachube, Twitter and OpenStreetMap initiatives, including the use of GPS-enabled Moblogs to help populate local maps with user-generated data. (Update (09 March 2009): Rob also talked about combining Pachube and social media for climate change competitions – see pwcom blog.) […]

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