Energy Game Changers
Energy Game Changers was an innovative project led by Legendary Games, in partnership with CSE and the University of Nottingham, that aimed to make information about household energy levels accessible by gamifying live data received from sensors placed around the home.
Explore a virtual model of your home
The aim was to create an engaging platform — “My House” — that enabled people to better understand how their behaviour impacts their energy bills. My House allowed users to create a sophisticated virtual model of their home, and then used live data collected from sensors to allow them to interact with this data through the game interface. The sensors collected data on internal temperature, external temperature, light levels, relative humidity, and energy consumption as well as integrating data from smart meters to create an accurate virtual representation of users’ homes.
Once set up, gamers were encouraged to undertake energy “missions” to improve their home’s efficiency. CSE’s role was to advise on the energy and fuel scenarios users are likely to face, and to design missions around these common experiences, for example installing a new boiler, changing the thermostat temperature, or opening a window. Through playing the game, users were able to gain an in-depth understanding of how their home uses energy, and how they could improve energy efficiency.
The project grew out of previous work focused on smart devices and how these can be used to support vulnerable people in keeping their homes adequately heated, and in making energy efficiency adaptions. But it went further in experimenting with presenting data in a fun and engaging way.
Visualizing energy use
This sort of data visualization is sorely needed: For a lot of people, monitoring energy is boring, unless you can understand it in relation to your own habits. But people need to be engaged in their energy use in order to make the most of the capacity that smart meters offer. This game goes much further than the displays that accompany many smart meters, and will really help people to visualize how they use energy – as well as make improvements to the efficiency of their homes.
Users were also able to share their data with friends and collect points for efficiency improving behaviours. Legendary Games hope to monetize the game and sell it widely in countries using smart meters. The project was funded by Innovate UK.