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I am a final year student of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at Cambridge UniversityStudent
Submission for "Make Buildings Better" Competition
A shift in behaviour is the most important way in which we can affect change. Our behaviour, with regards to sustainability, is governed by our perception of how bad an activity is vs how easy it is to change or replace that behaviour. Informational lectures and videos are far removed from the location where we make decisions that affect the environment.
My proposal is to provide instant feedback to users on decisions they can make then and there. For instance, a small light can illuminate in the shower when you have used enough water to grow 1kg of potatoes (approx. 20 mins). It is important to use relative measurements rather than just display numbers as we can understand the impact of our actions more easily. In a similar way, other appliances in buildings can have sensors and low energy display technology fitted to help streamline our behaviour.
The key aspect of this proposal is that it is a catalyst, not an absolute solution. It may seem counterintuitive that in order to minimise our carbon footprint, we need to install more equipment in old buildings but it is the change needed to set us on a path towards meeting our energy goals.
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