Monthly Archives: June 2009

Welcome Microsoft!


After Google’s powermeter, here comes Microsoft with Hohm! Hohm is a recommendation engine that will provide increasingly more accurate and relevant suggestions for energy conservation as its users contribute with home energy input and feedback.

Definitely, a very useful feature for people to conserve energy. After my experiment, Act React!, I conclude that regular energy meters are too primitive to help consumers save energy. They don’t provide data in a longterm view, so people cannot understand why one day the consumption is high,and why another is low. Furthermore, people don’t have a benchmark to compare their consumption. With Hohm, I assume that the users will be able to compare with similar houses, in order to understand the level of their consumption.

One of the concepts that people in my sessions recommended was that of an energy-audit. An energy specialist comes to your house, inspects it, and give you recommendations about what to improve, how, what steps to take next, whom to visit etc. Something very similar with what Hohm will do, but without the human aspect. An Energy-audit is a practice that starts to be widely used by energy companies providing an extra service, by sustainable centers and more…I like this direction and I believe there are much more opportunities to enhance it, and provide a service where people are more involved, can start understand energy and develop their own mental models about how electricity is consumed/saved.

For more information about Microsoft Hohm’s look at Wired’s article

p.s thanks bro for updating me ๐Ÿ˜‰


Moonlight received a design award for a second time!

We just returned from beautiful Porto, being awarded for the Feel the Planet Earth CIFIAL design award!!!

The award was nominated to our team “Lumen“, for the design of the Moonlight. A solar-powered LED lantern, we designed last year in Cambodia for the rural population of the country. The lantern was designed for Kamworks, a company specialized in providing affordable energy systems in Cambodia. This is the second timeย  Moonlight is awarded, after the Toonvantuijl design prize at the Dutch Design Awards.

We all hope that the third prize, and most important, will come from the people; now that the Moonlight is coming to the market ๐Ÿ˜‰

p.s I: credits to Duygu for the beautiful photos

p.s II: Ana Maria,the fourth Lumen, was unfortunately in Colombia and could not join us

p.s III: A team from the Royal College of Art London and Imperial won also a prize, for a very smart air conditioning system “Artica” that uses only 10% of the energy that is required by conventional systems.


As I’m busy transcribing and analyzing my first session with my participants, I thought to feed you with a nice trailer about Objectified, the new movie by Gary Hustwit, director also of the Helvetica.

For more, just check the movie’s website

The Perspectivity Game


During a very nice sailing trip to Friesland with O2nederlands, we had the chance to play the perspectivity game.

A board game, where six players (countries) try to grow and have the biggest revenues in 10 rounds, using the available resources on the board (planet). The countries can grow by building ordinary, polluting factories or renewable ones that cost more to build and bring the same revenues as the ordinary ones.ย  If there is a lot of pollution then catastrophes start causing a lot of damages to your factories, which means more cost to the players as well. Hence, the first dilemma that arises is to be green or not to be green? Players start to negotiate about the level of emissions that should be allowed on the planet in order to avoid future catastrophes…Moreover, there are some blocks on the board that give you the double production if you place a factory there…but they are limited…so, everyone wants them! How can you solve these conflicts, with your neighbor countries?

The Perspectivity Game is a very nice game, empowering dialogue to discuss possible future scenarios for the world. By playing it, you can see people going for the biggest revenues no matter the cost, idealists building only renewable factories, and a world ready to clash in every moment.

In the end of the game, we ended up having a high score on the game, but in a weird manner. Half of the world was polluting, and had slighter bigger revenues, and the other half was green but a little bit less productive. Hence, the winners were the ones that polluted the world the most :S Something that accounts to reality, but should not be taught in schools (as the developers of the game hope for) if we are aiming towards a better future. I think it’s time to think further than revenues alone,ย  and integrate values in our economy as well.

What matters is not only the win, but also the way the win comes…and at least for me should always be with Style!

p.s thanks to G.Lo for the great photos ๐Ÿ˜‰