Student’s ‘green’ use for online social networking

Posted on 17 August 2009

A Computer Science student at the University of York has created a new Facebook application that uses the social networking website for monitoring home energy consumption.

Derek Foster developed the WattsUp application, which will also allow people to assess their carbon dioxide emissions, as part of his project for the MSc in Human-centred Interactive Technologies.

It seemed like a novel approach to incorporate other elements of our lifestyle, such as our household energy consumption, into our online social profiles

Derek Foster

The domestic sector accounts for about 30 per cent of all energy consumed in the UK. The application aims to raise awareness of energy consumption in the home to both reduce usage and have a positive impact on climate change.

The WattsUp application records users’ live and historical household energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, via a special energy monitor – the WATTSON monitor.

Derek said: “With so many people using Facebook now, it seemed like a novel approach to incorporate other elements of our lifestyle, such as our household energy consumption, into our online social profiles.

“By using Facebook as the delivery platform it introduces social psychology elements such as peer-pressure and normative behaviour between friends which can introduce competitiveness to reduce energy usage.”

The developers of the Microsoft Facebook Development Toolkit selected WattsUp as a novel application finalist and are planning to publish an upcoming special article on the Microsoft Developers Network (MSDN).

ENDS

Notes to editors:

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