Lucid's research team is committed to exploring novel ideas, mechanisms and approaches that further the science of behavior change
Building Dashboard engages occupants in energy and water use reduction competitions within buildings and across organizations. Lucid's own findings show that community-wide comparisons and friendly competitions are indispensable tools for conservation, community building and developing long-term strategies for managing consumption.
Empathetic gauges are storytelling instruments that seek to establish an emotional connection with occupants. Dynamic animated characters communicate different degrees of resource consumption by exhibiting different behaviors. Lucid's collaborative research is demonstrating the effectiveness of these unconventional gauges.
Working with Lucid co-founder Dr. John Petersen at Oberlin College, Lucid has collaborated on real-time energy orb technology that tells building residents how they are performing throughout the day. Glowing orbs instantly communicate levels of consumption using a spectrum of colors, from red to yellow to green.
Increasingly, Lucid's customer base is tracking energy consumed by end use, giving us an important look into the role that building occupants can play in conserving energy. According to our research, "plug loads" constitute as much as 50% of an office's electricity consumption -- a surprising new find that runs contrary to conventional thinking.
Lucid and its partners are involved in a multi-year research endeavor that aims to test feedback technology at the scale of an entire city and its bioregion. Supported by a grant from the Great Lakes Protection Fund, the project will trace how personal and collective community actions impact electricity and water consumption and wastewater output.
Lucid's journey began in 2002 in one of the first modern green buildings, the Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College. This innovative "building ecosystem" produced its own solar energy, recycled its own water and closed the material loop, but had not provided necessary feedback to building occupants. Our goal was to engage occupants and visitors by showing real-time environmental performance of the building and landscape.
The idea we set out to test, develop and market is now widely accepted here and around the world: real-time resource use feedback has the potential to save energy and water in a substantial way. Smarter building occupants, not just smarter buildings or control technologies, are key to resource conservation. Lucid's goal is to change the way we think, act and consume by transforming passive consumers into active managers of resource use.
Consider the "Prius Effect": when you can see how your car is performing in real time, you tend to fine-tune usage in order to improve, sustain and eventually surpass your current level of performance. This phenomenon is especially true when friends, family and spouses get involved, each competing to outperform the recent mile-per-gallon "winner." By analogy, the outcome of using Building Dashboard is like the social and psychological effect produced by using the energy monitor in a hybrid vehicle.
From Tour de France contestants to Wall Street brokers, real-time feedback is required to make smart, game-winning decisions. One of Lucid's research objectives is to quantify the degree to which resource use information is effective -- under what circumstances, at what scales and resolutions, and in what forms delivered to the user. So far, our team has demonstrated that real-time feedback can reduce consumption by between 10% and 56%.