This app lets you narc on wasted energy
There’s no reason for offices to be lit up all night if no one’s around. If seeing a bright skyline pisses you off as much as it inspires awe, LightsOut will help you channel your annoyance.
The app LightsOut was just born at Boston’s Cleanweb Hackathon earlier this month, where it won the grand prize, so you can’t blame creator Spencer Lawrence for not having a slick, fully functional app yet. (It should be more user-ready in seven months, after help from an accelerator program.) Lawrence, a former energy auditor, and his friend John Massie got plenty of inspiration for LightsOut just by walking around during the hackathon:
“In about 30 minutes, just walking around the block, we found 70 light fixtures, and we started to snapping photos,” Massie says. They reckon they saw about $400 in potential energy savings during that short time.
Thirty hours later (drinks included), they had a functional site. It is still “pretty beta,” but the idea seems promising. Massie talks of shining light on a sometimes invisible problem. “It’s about putting power into the hands of people who actually care about this stuff and thus far haven’t really had an avenue to do anything about it,” he says.
So rather than spewing a frustrated sigh at energy waste, you can take action by snapping a photo, uploading it to LightsOut, and briefly describing the issue. (Well, you might wanna wait til the app’s fully functional.) It’s not just for electricity waste, either — leaky faucets and the like are fair game, too. Maybe as with street harassment reporting app Hollaback, LightsOut will bring attention and change behavior.
An App That Lets You Map All The World's Wasted Energy, Fast Co. Exist.