Energy Lollipop shows the electricity grid's CO2 emissions in real-time and makes saving CO2 fun like a game. The design theory is to disclose a city's CO2 data as widely and publicly as possible in a "lollipops everywhere" strategy. The Energy Lollipop is designed to be featured in outdoor screen installations and building foyer displays as well as showing personal energy data in a Chrome extension, app, or home light fixture.
Urban Canopy takes high resolution thermal images of cities during summer to show the urban heat island effect, then compares and ranks properties based on their heat score, and encourages cities and residents to add more vegetation white surfaces.
Urban Canopy uses satellite data to annually calculate the green cover of cities in a beautiful and easy-to-use web interface, and employs gamification features such as ranking cities in terms of green cover percentage and progress-tracking to encourage more urban greening.
Magic Leap for Environmental Cities
Imagine the invisible environmental impact of cities is made visible through augmented reality glasses like Magic Leap.
Hot City | Cool City Urban Heat Island Installation
Cities are getting hotter than ever — and it's not only caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Concrete and bitumen heat up during summer and create an "Urban Heat Island." The Hot City | Cool City concept is an educational display that includes a table-size mock city made from real building materials, with "hot spots" that are heavy in asphalt and "cool spots" that have lighter surfaces and more vegetation. The model city is warmed using a heat lamp, and viewed by a suspended FLIR thermal camera that displays the thermal image on an adjacent large digital screen. Viewers can interact with the display by moving small cars about, splashing water on surfaces, and trying out different shading devices to learn about the urban heat island effect—the thermal affects revealed in real time on the digital screen. Inspired byThe Exploratorium. Learn more
Can a Fitbit-style of design work for groups of people, like for a neighborhood or city? The civic orb is an electronic public installation light that shows the electricity use of an entire city in real time, communicated by the color of the glowing orb. The purpose is to raise awareness of peak-load times and encourage behavior change to reduce energy use during peak times such as early evening and hot days in summer. Inspired by Glow Energy.
It's difficult to motivate people to save energy. However, comparing people's performance to one another has a motivating affect. This public electronic display shows the energy use of each individual apartment in a building, and ranks the apartments from lowest to highest in order of their energy consumption. The Energy Leaderboard would be positioned in the foyer or entry area of the building, and can also send monthly email reports to residents showing the residents' performance and share tips to save energy. Learn more
You know what parts of the city get the hottest is summer? Roads and car parks. They need to be shaded to prevent the urban heat island effect baking us. The Green Cocoon is an easy-to-install modular shading device that can be installed over car parks or roads. Vines provide shade to reduce the heat island effect caused by exposed bitumen in summer. Inspired byLisa Gartland.
The Garden City App uses augmented reality to allow users to superimpose their ideas for living walls, urban trees, and green roofs on the urban surfaces around them. Urban influencers, planners, and sustainability managers can design their own creations to help pitch for a new urban greening project or help inspire their community demand more green spaces. Inspired by Patrick Blanc.
Spectrum - Public Energy Display for Commercial Buildings
It's not enough to have a commercial building's energy use known only by two people: the building manager and the executive who pays the electricity bill. Don't underestimate the power of public data to create an upward spiral of change. The Spectrum Energy Display is an electronic screen designed to publicly disclose the amount of energy a commercial building is using to all building occupants and passers-by. It is designed to be located in the building's foyer and or elevator. The design applies color, rank of building compared to other buildings, and a real-time display of watts user per square foot or square meter.
Big Air Quality Displays
No one knows the air quality at any exact location. These large public digital screens show real time air quality at the exact location of the screen using an inbuilt sensor. The design applies a real time feedback loop of data, public disclosure of data, color, and a star rating. Based on the EPA Air Quality Index.
Small Public Air Quality Displays
Want to install your own public air quality screen? These small digital screens are designed for households, libraries, schools, offices, bus shelters etc. to purchase and position in public places. The screen shows real time air quality at the exact location of the screen using an inbuilt sensor. Anyone can become an air quality activist by putting this screen up where people can see it. Inspired by Urban Dashboard.
Riverzilla shows water quality of a major urban river or lake in real time. It is made up of a network of floating water sensors that send real time water quality data to a map-based app that reveals the hyperlocal information and uses behavior design techniques to encourage governments and residents to take action to improve their local Riverzilla's rank.
Numbers have a funny way of getting people to change. This large outdoor screen design communicates global carbon dioxide in a similar way to stock market displays.
The world is full of easy plant-based swaps that restaurants can make to help people eat more plants and less animals. The Vscore app calculates the ratio of plant to animal calories in a menu, giving restaurants a score, a color, and a star-rating based on their plant-based friendliness, and ranking restaurants in a given area.
We currently have car fuel efficiency stickers on cars at dealership for purchase, but people choosing high fuel economy vehicles can be nudged further. The Car Color Sticker introduces a color theme to vehicle fuel efficiency disclosure that adds persuasive weight to people's choice of car.
AC is a hopelessly inefficient way to cool down because it cools the air, not your body directly—and we can do better than wearing an ugly and cumbersome wet towel during heat waves. The Escapade is a fashionable re-invention of the wet towel or industrial cooling vest. It's a visually beautiful and easy-wearing device that contains a thin cooling gel pack covered in wicking fabric. Store it in the refrigerator or freezer, then wet it, and clip on to your neck, or wrists, then re-wet every hour to maintain the cooling effect.
KWh Screen for Cities
A website and large public screen that shows a real time feed of the city's energy consumption.
City Energy Map
A McKinsey report recently claimed that 40 percent of electricity is wasted. Once we can see where all the energy is being used, we can more easily get to work to fix the problem. The City Energy Map is a digital map that shows the real time energy consumption of commercial buildings, calculated as watts per square foot, so buildings can be easily compared as to their energy efficiency and low performing buildings can be targeted for retrofits. Inspired by Columbia University School of Engineering.
Social Media Energy Thermometer
A Zynga-like social media game that feeds your energy use into your Facebook or Twitter profile, allowing for transparency, comparison, digital rewards, and general gamification of a user's energy use.
Saving the world should not be a dreary process. It should be rich in imagination and be the greatest creative adventure of our time. This set of Creativity Cards is pack of 20 illustrated postcards. Each card features a different "wonder question" so the reader that ponder and ruminate on the question which encourages expansive, positive, and creative thought. These are the kind of questions that underpin the kind of innovation, inspiration, and vision we need to save the world.
Salesforce Screen for Earth Data
A public artwork for the Salesforce screen that beautifully shows the Earth's most important data, illustrated in real time, designed to encourage real environmental change.
Right now, almost no one knows exactly how much trash they create, and it's hard to change what you can't measure. Zerowastify adds load sensors to garbage trucks and weighs each load of garbage separately. Then it sends homes and businesses reports on their waste quantity, and compares people to each other as a means of driving waste-reduction practices. Inspired byAlex Laskey.
Zero waste game reimagined with the banana slug "Slug Zero" as the main character. Slug's forest has been covered in trash and you need to move Slug over the dots to learn and pledge up to 150 zero waste behaviors.
Detrash Your Life in 90 Days
There's a lot to learn to give up disposable packaging and live zero waste. This book leaves no stone unturned as it details 150 actions you can take to make no waste whatsoever. Full of recipes for easy DIY products and product recommendations..
You what works better than educating people about waste? Asking them to make a pledge to make less of it. The Zero Waste Pledge Cards are a pack of 150 cards, each with a different zero waste action and instructions on it. The player looks through the cards and writes a pledge to commit to the action. Inspired byDoug McKenzie Mohr.
Detrash the World Slideshow
People don't realize that recycling has little power to help the environment, or the waste crisis. This is "The Inconvenient Truth" for zero waste. It's about the embodied resources it takes to manufacture the stuff we throw away, and what we can to to reuse instead of recycle.
It's hard to get people to sort their trash into waste, recycling, and compost — especially outdoors on the street. Research shows that creative waste containers shaped like charismatic critters —an eagle head for example—help. The Compost-a-tron is creative interpretation of a compost bin for a public urban space. It's a robot that craves to "eat" food waste. The device has an inner mechanism of trays that helps to aerate and compost waste.
Waste Data Map
It's hard to change what you can't see. The Waste Data Map takes data of how much waste trucks are depositing in landfill and recycling plants, and feeds it into a front end web visualization so anyone can see the flow of waste as it happens. It ranks cities in their success of waste reduction and scores each city as to their performance.
Center for the Environmental Design Imagination
We need more than talking about the world's problems. We need a vision and imagination of a new world. The Center for the Environmental Design Imagination is project intended to promote the concept of design imagination around environmental issues and to share the artworks and designs of leading creatives. The intention is transform negative feelings about environmental destruction into vision, optimism and imagination, and then help people put this energy to work to make their ideas come true. Inspired by Scott Barry Kaufman.
It's hard to tell which clothes are best for the environment when you can't see the numbers. This apparel eco-label is a concept design based on nutritional labels and the Australian energy star ratings that displays five environmental indicators using data, color, and stars.
A green wall that is a urinal. A urinal that is a green wall. Water is recycled so little new water is needed to be added to the system.
Easy Feme Box
A vending machine for public bathrooms that sells low-cost reusable silicon cups and cloth menstrual pads.
An environmentally friendly zero waste welcome kit for girls getting their first period. Girls should be introduced to reusable products early in life in order to make reuse the new norm.
We need to shift rapidly from gasoline to electric vehicles, but t's hard to change something you can't measure. The fuel billboard shows a real time quantity of gasoline a city uses, with nudge-style design to encourage the community to drive less and switch to an electric vehicle.
Nest: Co-Living for Families
No parent should be trapped caring for a child on their own. Nest is a co-living property where multiple families can live together in a combination of studio-style rooms with a central large play area for children.
Attach thermometers to taxis and ride-share vehicles such as Uber and Lyft to track the air temperature of cities. The air temperature in addition to the surface temperature taken by FLIR thermal cameras for aerial photography. This allows us to see the hot spots in cities with high granular detail to target for urban greening and cooling. Inspired by Jeremy Hoffman.
It helps to change people's behavior if you can measure it, show people the numbers, and then give them positive feedback on their good action. The Cycling Counter is a creative interpretation of radar counter that tracks the number of cyclings passing on the street. Instead of being plain and boring, the Cycling Counter is shaped like a giant pacman that flashes positive signs of encouragement to cyclings as they pass by, as well as counting the number of cyclists.
The Eco Happy Meal
The Mc Donald's Happy meal is great for kids (and parents), but no so great for the environment or those wanting vegan or plant-based foods and use less plastic. The Happy Meal can be easily modified into the Eco Happy Meal using plant-based meats and compostable packaging and toy. The Eco Happy Meal is both plant-based and plastic free. Inspired by Morning Star Vegan Chicken Nuggets.
What I do
I'm an environmental engineer and a software designer. I help city innovators, sustainability managers and entrepreneurs solve big environmental problems by using data, game design, and behavior change ('nudge') techniques at Hello World Labs. I teach others how to do it too in my bookHow to Save the World.
Subscribe to the Hello World! Youtube channel and podcast where I interview the world's most interesting researchers, scientists, and startups. Subscribe >>
Join the Facebook Group
Share your super powers with fellow world-changers so we can help each other with technology support, project feedback, and new ideas. Join >>
Join the Meetup Group
Join our in-person workshops and follow Katie's public speaking engangements at the Meetup Group in San Francisco. Join >>
Sign up for news and updates
I occasionally send out updates on projects I've been working on, interesting research, new startups. and events etc. Your email will never be shared, sold, abused or sent annoying things that are not totally awesome.