Greenhouse gases and your household’s carbon footprint can be big concepts to explain to children, as any parent knows — but endless rounds of nagging to turn off the lights or turn down the thermostat aren’t anyone’s idea of fun. Now, to help get kids on board with energy efficiency and conservation, there’s the Energy Pet.
Created by Matt Prescott, the founder of E Day (a day dedicated to saving energy in the United Kingdom) the Energy Pet is a web interface prototype that converts real-time numerical energy data — for schools, homes, and other applications — into the behavior of an animated teddy bear type character.
When your Energy Pet puts on his hat, vest and boots, kids know they’re doing their part to help keep polar bears in business. When the Energy Pet begins to sweat and look unhappy, though, it’s time to turn off the lights and power down electronics. (And not because Mom told you to!) Prescott sees this as a way of translating “hard” data like kilowatts into an image that kids and others can emotionally identify with.
The web application is compatible with any tablet, desktop or mobile device. Currently, Prescott is looking for partners to take the project forward, and believes that schools would be the ideal testing ground for this tech. He envisions eventually being able to incorporate water usage data as well as energy data into the Energy Pet, and allowing different schools and households to compete against one another to keep their Energy Pet the happiest.