Energy Efficiency A Game?Monday 28th November 2016
A NEW smart device turns energy saving into a game, but with serious winnings for those that play
The game, by GenGame, has proven its potential to significantly boost consumer engagement with energy and free up energy capacity on the UK grid while under trial with Open Energi and Northern Powergrid across the North East of England. GenGame and Open Energi are now halfway through a three-year project with Northern Powergrid, which is co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, and Northern Powergrid themselves.
The game relies on smart plugs, which are installed in players’ homes to sync with the game. Then the game records and controls power usage. Players then work to win points through reducing their energy demand via push notifications calling for action by players – the greater the reduction in energy use the more points they gain.
Over 100 homes signed up during the first three days of the game going live across North East England. Some households have offered over 50% of their load for direct control. The project has also resulted in surprising levels of engagement in order to win, with people allowing their games consoles, TV’s, EV’s and even hot tubs to be turned off whilst in use.
Players track their progress via the app, complete achievements and compete with one another for cash prizes, high street vouchers, or can even donate their points to charity.
Participants so far have been recruited in stages through social media and by engaging with local community groups. GenGame is now looking to develop the commercial model for other UK energy suppliers. They have integrated the platform to work with smart meter data to remove any upfront hardware costs and are planning to trial this new version early next year.
While GenGame’s immediate focus is the UK market, there is longer aim to expand the approach internationally.
Monday 28th November 2016