Explaining and Encouraging Shifting as a Way to Reduce One’s Carbon Footprint

Agnes Lisowska Masson
Julien Nembrini
Denis Lalanne
Project status: 

When most people are asked ‘How can you reduce your carbon footprint?’, the answer is along the lines of ‘By not doing X, Y and Z, or by doing less of A, B, and C.’ Few people know that the question of CO2 emissions and carbon footprints is much more fine-grained than that, and that it’s in fact possible to reduce carbon emissions simply by doing certain activities at a different time, for example, using electronic devices at times when the electricity comes form renewable resources such as solar panels.

The aim of the this project will be to use the User Centered Design approach, combined with mental models, to design and implement a number of prototype mobile apps that will help users a) understand the notion and effects of shift rather than reduction, and b) will help users figure out when certain activities can be carried out to reduce the carbon emissions that they generate.

Concretely, the steps of the project will be:

  • interviews with potential users about the understanding of carbon emissions and shifting, and requirements they might have for an app such as described above
  • design and implementation of 2-3 prototypes
  • evaluation of the prototypes

Prerequisites: Having taken the User Centered Design course that is part of the Swiss Joint Master in Computer Science, or demonstrating similar knowledge.