Luminous orbs shed light on student energy consumption

A team of student scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have developed a colour-changing orb to help students save energy which could soon be piloted at the London School of Economics.

The PennOrb is connected to student housing, glowing red when energy levels are higher than expected and glowing green when energy is being allocated efficiently.

The system uses historical energy statistics to predict consumption levels for a given day, considering weather conditions such as temperature and daylight hours.

Visible reminders

PennOrb founder Jason Choi said the simple red-or-green format facilitated a conservational mind-set from students.

“We distill gigabytes of complex energy data into the colours of a glowing orb, so that you can understand how you are consuming electricity through a casual glance.

“We want to help you save energy by showing how you use energy.”

Choi says students at the London School of Economics have expressed interest in piloting the scheme, but the results of the trial run at Penn must first be analysed to see whether the orb was effective in reducing energy consumption.

Brad Allen

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