Monday, May 7, 2007

"Regulating" impact. GreenSTAT the smart green regulator.

Your comments on the design ideas below are welcome. Please click on the image for a larger view.

GreenStat– is the concept sketch of a climate control regulator/thermostat that consists of an analog display of emissions & dollars spent (or saved) directly tied to the temperature settings of the house.
The display would make it possible for residents to monitor in real time the impact their use of heating/cooling has on both the environment & their wallets.
Armed with such pertinent data, users are less likely to be careless about the settings of their thermostats & better able to gauge environmental impact while monitoring air-conditioning costs.

How will “GreenStat” work?
The regulator could be programmed specifically to individual residences or work-places by gathering temperature data in real time from sensors placed in separate rooms & plugging in current costs of heating/cooling. Data related to emissions, produced due to heating/cooling and location on the globe would also be tied in.

Why a climate control regulator?
The building industry is one of the largest polluters in the world. Energy used for indoors heating/cooling generates millions of tons emissions every year. So far control of energy use for indoor temperature regulation has been largely controlled by the product itself or building management.
De-centralizing the point of temperature regulation and allowing individual users to make informed decisions about the use of energy & it’s environmental/monitory impact could stand to affect the building industry is a very positive way by reducing emissions.

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Saturday, May 5, 2007

Controlling YOUR impact on climate change - travel green.

We would love to have your input or comments. If you can make this work or run with it, it's yours. If think there's a better way to do this, tell us & we'll publish it. This is very open-source & collaborative. So far, 5 CCC members have worked on this idea. If you know of anyone who would be interested in using this idea, please let them know.

Below is a concept-sketch for a travel mapping website (like Mapquest or Google Maps), that would calculate:
1. Your trip cost (using your zip code for fuel cost - a one time entry).
2. Your trip emissions (using car model & fuel grade - a one time entry).
3. AND give you locally available mass transit alternatives.
Also, (this is debatable) if you consistently saved emissions by making informed decisions (read use of mass transit, bike routes, hybrid/electric cars), it would give you “green points” which you could redeem to buy sustainable products. These decisions would be recorded on a system similar to the "smart trip" card in Washington DC.
The premise is that armed with such pertinent & quantifiable data, people are more likely to be conscious of their impact on the environment & their wallets.

Allowing consumers to quantify environmental impact through user interface design.

More than government and institutions, it is people who have become motivated to act upon climate change. Consumers are pushing industries to produce more eco friendly products.

Many continue to plant trees, recycle trash, use public transport & conserve resources in ways that are possible for them. Yet how many people are aware of the environmental impact their actions (positive or negative) have in terms of hard numbers?

The CCC is currently working on ideas in the realm of transportation & indoors climate control through which it believes that people - not just regulatory bodies - will truly be able to control climate change.

The ideas currently on the boards are both practical & very marketable due their fungibility. They are in simple terms - “grafts” on existing technologies. We believe that resources already exist through which these ideas could be implemented in a short period of time should the appropriate individuals or organizations take them on.

GreenTravel- is a conceptual website layout based on existing road & travel mapping models not unlike Mapquest or Google Maps.

GreenTravel allows travelers to plug in the make/type of vehicle with fuel grade they intend to use along with the start & destination addresses. The search results show (in close approximate numbers) the amount of emissions generated for a specific mode of transportation they use (say an SUV, hybrid or public transit). The website also allows them to explore more sustainable alternatives for travel (such as ride-shares, bikes & buses locally available). Apart from providing users real emission numbers through inbuilt algorithms on which to base their travel decisions, the website would also allow them to tap into an existing infrastructure of sustainable travel practices.

The website would also be a place for certified green products to advertise themselves & perhaps offer “green rewards” to users who consistently make less polluting travel decisions.

Why “GreenTravel”?

Next to the building industry, the transportation industry is the next biggest polluter. A solution similar to this website (or an adaptation of it) could stand to make a significant impact on climate change by influencing the travel decisions of millions of commuters many of whom are already using existing travel mapping websites.

Who stands to gain from “GreenTravel” ?

First and foremost – the community. Secondly, websites such as Google Maps, Mapquest & others could gain substantially by making design tweaks on their existing websites to accommodate green/sustainable travel alternatives.

New info that might be needed for the website:
1. A database of makes/types of cars available
2. A database of different fuel grades available and costs of such based on local zip code.
3. A database/algorithms of average emissions produced by specific car sizes/models & fuels grades combined together.
4. A way for people to validate their “green points” & for them to redeem them.

Websites which could use this approach:

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Friday, May 4, 2007

Design Sketches to come shortly...

Finishing touches are being applied to design sketches & narratives & shall be uploaded shortly.
Both these concepts address climate change & the environment directly - one is a website concept layout called "GreenTRAVEL" & the other one is "GreenSTAT".
All of these have been shown to friends, workmates & family, some of whom were struck speechless by the ingenuity of the ideas & wondered why no one's put them into action yet.
Others barfed on them, & brought up interesting (and often vile) criticism.

Stay tuned...

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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Members & what they do.

What members do:
Most members of the CCC have full time jobs. They are essentially volunteers who beleive that they have something positive and practical to contribute towards addressing climate change. They also agree that climate change cannot be addressed only at the 'top' or policy making level - it needs to be a 'bottom up' process. Members try to explore ideas which if implemented would create awareness & also stand a chance of surviving in the market. There are no rules. A lot of dialogue & ideas are explored & some of them come out looking very promising.

Who can be a member?
Anyone. From anywhere. If you're already in the process of working on ideas or projects related to the environment elsewhere in the world, we'd love to hear about them. You can email us (use the link on the right) and we'll publish your doings. If you'd only like to comment on what we've published without becomming directly involved, we welcome that too. All you have to do is leave a comment. Comments are published after moderation.

Below is a growing list of CCC members:

Joe Popp: A favorite amongst the young folks that work with him, Joe has not yet been known to get in anyone's hair. He has an unnaturally high threshold of tolerance & would have made a great peace negotiator if he hadn't been an Architect. He took to the CCC idea early on & is always willing to be part of where it goes.

Manasi Kashyap: Manasi complains a lot. Especially about how much people waste. She would love to be known as a tree hugging vegetarian but eats way too much meat for that to become possible. She trained as an architect but has a horrible weakness for yarn, making her a noisy loom-weaver in her spare hours.

Steve Breslin: Steve's defining moment in life arrived when he was mistakenly labelled "Dr Steve Breslin" at a science & technology conference attended by many PhD persons. He still hangs the label outside his office door. Steve's knowledge about labs & scientists is surpassed only by his love for walking around barefoot. He's an architect and also (we think) an engineer. Steve isn't afraid to explore brave new ideas even if they smell funny.

Bill Jackson: often bikes to work. He studied at Texas A&M University & is a 3D visualization wizard. People quickly learn to be good to Bill or he morphs their faces into laughable jokes and puts them somewhere where everyone can see them. He was the first CCC member-recruit who didn't give Manasi the "you're nuts!" look.

Venkatachalam Plachikkat: also known as Chalam tends to think that architects should leave everyone the hel* alone. He might be gradually changing that point of view. He studied to be an electrical engineer but is happy living in the world of finance. He devours, on an average, 6 movies a week - most of them foreign films and also likes eating pitted prunes.

And growing...

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Climate Change Colloquium comes to be.

Climate change has become a global phenomenon that is forcing responses from all countries, cultures and professional disciplines. It is emerging to be much like the danger AIDS is to mankind only much bigger as it stands to affect all life. As disciplines like the applied sciences and the industry start to respond to the potential threats to biodiversity and increasing global warming, individuals could contribute much through dialogue and design at a grass roots level.

The Climate Change Colloquium is a collaborative public platform for the development and discussions of ideas that have the potential to address climate change. Within the CCC, ideas come together to form both new stand-alone concepts and also ‘grafts’ on existing products, services and technologies which would make them potentially more viable in addressing climate change. As a diverse and widespread forum of individuals the CCC is exceptionally positioned to serve as a creative platform to address climate change.

CCC was initiated by architects who believed that as a profession they understood the implications of the built environment and were uniquely capable to act as catalysts while bridging diverse disciplines. CCC is also driven by concerned and innovative individuals with a pragmatic bent of mind and positive attitudes who believe that to be most effective climate change should be addressed ‘bottom-up’. The CCC connects with other institutions and industries actively addressing climate change and shares with them the ideas it has developed so they may be taken up by interested parties who have the means and resources to implement them. In return, support from organizations and individuals willing to support the CCC is very welcome.

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