WWF lists Welectricity, a Social Network for Energy Efficiency, as one of its “Green Game-Changers”

Originally posted by Laure Ego 12 Oct 2010 on http://www.gvepinternational.org

Welectricity, an innovative, award-winning social network that helps users track and reduce their electricity consumption at home, has been listed by UK-based WWF as a “Green Game-Changer” in their recently launched sustainable innovation initiative.

According to the WWF website, their green game-changers initiative seeks to create “a bank of innovative business stories from all around the world – great products, business models or market mechanisms to inspire new green ways of doing business.”

WWF launched the initiative in September 2010 with a report identifying twenty areas of “high-potential” innovation in seven categories, with over 30 innovation case studies, ranging from global giants such as Google to under-the-radar firms like Magenn Power.

Welectricity, a social media/energy efficiency startup from St Vincent & The Grenadines in the Caribbean, was subsequently listed as an innovator in the energy category on the WWF website. The Welectricity listing reads (in part):

“FACEBOOK STYLE ENERGY-SAVING WEBSITE: A free social networking site that offers a fun and interactive way to keep track and reduce household energy use – without the need for monitoring gadgets or smart meters.”

WWF is now looking for more Green Game Changers to come forward via its online forum at www.wwf.org.uk/innovation.

WWF, a charity, is the world’s largest independent conservation organization, working in more than 90 countries and with over 5 million supporters worldwide.  Their mission is to address “global threats to people and nature such as climate change, the peril to endangered species and habitats, and the unsustainable consumption of the world’s natural resources… by influencing how governments, businesses and people think, learn and act in relation to the world around us, and by working with local communities to improve their livelihoods and the environment upon which we all depend.”

What is Welectricity
Welectricity, a free web application (at www.welectricity.com) that allows users to track and reduce their electricity consumption at home was launched on April 22nd (the 40th anniversary of Earth Day) and in 5 months had registered users from 50 countries worldwide.

Welectricity is based on principles of behavioral economics – it incorporates behavioral nudges to motivate people to reduce their consumption.The first of these nudges is the provision of information.  People need information to allow them to understand and, if necessary, adjust their consumption.  But it is now well-established (though not widely recognized) that information, on its own, does not motivate people to change their consumption behaviour.  Consumers also need regular feedback, they need to be able to set consumption-reduction goals (and to make plans to achieve those goals) and, most importantly, they need to be able to able to compare their consumption with that of similar others – a condition psychologists refer to as ‘social proof’.

Welectricity’s creator, energy consultant Herbert A ‘Haz’ Samuel notes that “psychologists and behavioral economists have found that social proof is one of the most fundamental and powerful factors that influence people to take action, and this is one of Welectricity’s key features.”

Welectricity packages these specific behavioural factors into a social network that incorporates the normal functions of social media – users sign up, set up profiles, invite and interact with friends on a simple, twitter-style messaging interface.  On the Welectricity dashboard, a bar graph of the user’s electricity consumption (based on information entered from actual bills) is displayed and the consumption graphs of similar users can be superimposed and directly compared.

A key feature of Welectricity is that it is a low-carbon solution that only requires access to an internet-connected computer and some information from existing utility bills.  No smart meters or other in-house monitoring devices need to be manufactured, packaged, shipped, purchased and installed for Welectricity to work. This Samuel sees as an important point. “After all,” Welectricity’s blog notes, “what’s the point of using a whole lot of energy and carbon emissions to bring you a bunch of new stuff that’s meant to help you use less energy and emit less carbon?”


More information on Welectricity

A video on how Welectricity works is available online, and more information on Welectricity is available at the following links.

Welectricity is a winner of a 2009 IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest award, which was sponsored by GVEP International, GTZ, the IDB and the Korean Government.
For further information please contact:
Welectricity Inc
P O Box 2096
Kingstown
St Vincent & the Grenadines
Mob +1 (784) 528 6974
Fax +1 (784) 482 6974

Skype: hazbert
mail: Web: http://www.welectricity.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/welectricity

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