Money-saving screen time? Author provided
Summer has arrived, and with it, soaring energy bills. Australian households are paying more for their power as generators struggle to meet consumer demand.
We blast our air conditioners to stay cool, and put on that old fridge for the Christmas drinks, both of which are likely to blow out our electricity bill.
But while we wait for the situation to improve, there is something you can do to help save money in the meantime: play games.
There is growing evidence that “serious” mobile phone games (games designed for purposes other than entertainment) can help households become more energy-efficient.
Reduce Your Juice offers three such games. Reduce Your Juice is part of a digital social marketing program developed by CitySmart, Queensland University of Technology and BCM partnership to help low-income earners keep their bills down.
The program features three mini-games that encourage the top three energy-efficient behaviours around the home: turning down air conditioners, using cool water for laundry, and switching off appliances when not in use.
The Reduce Your Juice app and campaign combines gameplay, tips, videos and a Facebook community to encourage the whole family to think about energy efficiency. The aim is for behaviours that are encouraged in the game to translate into real life and deliver changes in energy use behaviour around the home.
The first mini-game is called Temperature Defender, and is inspired by Space Invaders. It challenges players to keep room temperature (in the game) at 24℃ using a combination of fans and air conditioners. The key message is that using fans in combination with air conditioners is more energy-efficient.
One for the fans.
The second game, called Fully Loaded, targets water temperature for washing clothes. The challenge is to pick up cool items rather than hot ones, and the key message is that using cold rather than hot water for laundry will save users big bucks.
Power Raid is the third game, inspired by the arcade game Whac-A-Mole. It challenges players to keep their “juice use” low by turning off all the switches as fast as possible. The message here is that many appliances draw power even in standby mode, and that extra appliance such as drinks fridges should be turned off when not in use.