Photo courtesy of Peter Allison
History and Values
Our story began at Dartmouth College with TellEmotion's President Lorie Loeb and students in the GreenLite Dartmouth project. Their hypothesis was simple: students would change behavior if they could see the impact of their consumption decisions. Real-time data would come to life with animated scenes, capturing the attention of the entire campus.
With this idea, the first animations of a polar bear and her environment came to life. When energy use is low, the animated bear is happy. When energy usage rises or is higher than predicted based on historical patterns, the bear's health and happiness are endangered. Computer scientists, graphic artists, sociologists, engineers, environmental scientists and psychologists lent their perspective and best practice research to the project.
With the April 2008 launch in residence halls across Dartmouth, reaction to the system was dramatic. Students fell in love with the bear, named her, encouraged friends to pay attention to her health and well-being, and significantly reduced energy consumption. Usage from lighting and plug loads in dormitories fell between 5% and 34% in each dorm. The excitement at Dartmouth created national media attention as outlets like Newsweek and The Chronicle of Higher Education profiled the program's success. Interest from other schools, utility companies, and businesses followed and led to the creation of TellEmotion.
As schools increasingly adopt our technology, we remain committed to the idea that behavioral change is a critical component for any successful sustainability program.