polar bear campaign

Animated Monitors Display "Realtime" Usage

-Jenisha Shrestha '14

The Polar Bear Campaign, created by students in the GreenLite Dartmouth Project at the Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business, increases consumption awareness through real-time energy feedback. On November 11, 2011, the polar bears came to Colby-Sawyer and took up residence in the Ivey Science Center and all of the residence halls.

The "TellEmotion" system are intended to motivate behavior changes leading to resource conservation. Animated polar bears give a visual representation of the current amount of electricity being used in each building and allow users to graphically compare consumption rates over time. The bear is happy when the energy use is low; when the energy use is high, the polar bear becomes distressed as the ice floe beneath him begins to melt. Another animation uses a penguin to illustrate financial implications as money flies into or out of her purse based on how much electricity the residence hall is using.

These interactive touchscreens also display usage in terms of a letter grade and allow for comparisons between residence halls. The system motivates residents to work together to keep the bear and penguin happy, allowing students to react immediately by turning off lights or unplugging unnecessary electronics.

For an added incentive, Eco-Reps partner with the student-run Sustainability Core during Earth Week to host an energy conservation competition between the residence halls—the winners earn a pizza party hosted by a polar bear.