For one reason or another, utility companies attempt to make people use less resources. Trouble is, it is not easy to shift deep rooted habits even ones that happen to be wasteful. People do not like being told how to live, especially when it comes to their home life. Utility companies have to utilise a more subtle approach to efficiency. Enter Southern Water and and a bit of gamification using feedback and bench-marking.
You can see from the picture here that Southern Water are utilising gamification to help reduce wastage. It shows comparisons between you and typical households in an easy to understand manner. It also, shows you comparisons between your bill and your previous bill and your bill for the same period last year. The picto-people are a very graphic and effective way to draw comparisons between you and other households. This is a form of non-specific leader boarding, where you can see what to compete with, without giving away others personal information or habits. This really works and I'm going to tell you why I think that is.
I consider myself to be fairly environmentally friendly. I am a vegetarian, which saves the equivalent of three months of showering by not eating one burger. I take short showers maximum of five minutes, I turn off the tap when I brush my teeth. I turn off the lights and plug sockets when I am not using them. I try to reuse as much as possible. Yet I had no idea that the average one person household uses 226 litres a day. At first I dismissed the possibility that I used anywhere close to that much. However, when I got thinking of all of the water using activities; showers, washing dishes, washing clothes, heating for radiators, drinking water etc., it really made me think and reconsider. This act - this active reconsideration of my life – is very important as it sets in motion the change that is needed to change anything. These gamification tactics, as employed by Southern Water, allowed me to begin to make changes to be more efficient with my life. If it did this for me, it will have done it for many others. How much water in the world is being saved through gamification right now?
Want to know how to save water yourself? Here are two useful articles.