Innovation That Matters

Virtual world promotes sustainable living

Publishing & Media

The fact that Green Irene, Green Grannies and Green Groove have all graced our pages in just a few short weeks recently is a fair indication of today’s increasing focus on sustainability. Now joining that list is Climate Culture, a virtual world that combines guidance, community and games to help consumers reduce their energy consumption. Centered around a patent-pending carbon footprint calculator, Climate Culture offers users personalized advice on the amount of carbon, energy, dollars and other resources they expend through hundreds of lifestyle choices and daily actions. The site’s Personal Energy Advisor tool uses regionally specific datasets that reflect the types of energy generated, temperatures, incoming solar radiation, energy prices and other factors determined by ZIP code to power many of its personalized calculations. Users who join the free site begin by entering some basic information to calculate their current carbon footprint, and then choosing an avatar. They then find themselves on a virtual island that reflects their current level of energy consumption. The Reduction Center guides users to make changes in their lifestyle that will reduce their carbon footprint, such as installing a tankless water heater or using CFLs instead of traditional lightbulbs. For every reduction they make, users earn points that give them higher social status in the community along with access to more and more features in the site’s online store for customizing their avatar and their world. Users can also earn points by helping friends green their lifestyles and by challenging others in real-world carbon-reduction contests. In addition, a variety of multiuser games can be used to earn points as well: each time a user plays or wins, one of Climate Culture’s corporate sponsors donates money to offset 10 pounds of carbon dioxide. Climate Culture is reportedly planning a pilot project in Connecticut through which it aims to help whole towns become more energy-efficient, according to a report in Matter Network. Its business model, the report suggests, involves having residential energy savings certified by the state and then selling them as Renewable Energy Certificates to energy suppliers. New York-based Climate Culture currently supports users only in the US, with support for Canadian users coming soon. One to partner with in an area near you….? (Related: Rewarding consumers for driving less.) Spotted by: Bella Laird



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