Environmental Dashboard is a communication technology that combines real-time display of water and electricity use in buildings, organizations and through whole communities with photographs and ideas contributed by community members. Using electronic signs and websites, Environmental Dashboard employs compelling graphics to reconnect people with the natural world by making flows of resources visible and promoting sustainable action. It is designed and maintained by a group of researchers, software programmers, and community members based in Oberlin, Ohio. A description of each of the three main components of the Dashboard can be view at the bottom of this page.
The Dashboard is designed to communicate to a diverse audience. For cities and organizations it provides a means of both managing resource flows in buildings and actively engaging the public. For teachers, dynamic displays and downloadable data allow students to explore relationships, interdependencies, choices and consequences through curricular materials that emphasize the development of “systems thinking” skills. “Community voices” allows students, community members and leaders to share ideas and best practices that benefit the environment and the community.
The three components:
1. Building Dashboard monitors and displays patterns of electricity and water use in schools, homes, businesses and public facilities. The goal is to engage, educate, motivate and empower conservation. “Flash” the energy squirrel and “Wally the Walleye” explain and respond to different levels of resource consumption.
2. Citywide Dashboard is an animated display of electricity and water use and environmental conditions in entire communities or organizations. Intuitively interpretable gauges and animations of water flowing through pipes and electrons flowing down power lines help citizens to understand how the decisions that we make in our homes and workplaces are reflected in city-wide patterns and conditions.
3. Community Voices combines pictures and words to celebrate thought and action that move cities and organizations towards sustainability. Software allows photographs and text contributed by community members to be displayed in a variety of categories emphasizing neighbors, children, nature, history, community service and business. The goal is to generate a shared vision of a sustainable future.