A Facebook game might not be the first avenue that comes to mind for a place to teach homeowners how to be more energy-efficient, but according to a study conducted of the new game Power House, it's certainly effective one.
The game centers on a family and their daily activities, but was designed by researchers to encourage users to reduce energy consumption. There are obstacles built into the game—no one can be a room with no lights on and as the game progresses more people are completing more tasks concomitantly— and the overall goal is to use as little electricity as possible.
In a controlled study of 40 participants, users who played Power House exhibited more energy-efficient behavior immediately after playing the game as they were asked to leave the office and they also reduced energy use at home. Stanford researchers explained that users even subconsciously exhibited behavior that would reduce their utility bills, making no direct connection between their choices and the game.
While the accuracy of field tests of reduced utility use in the homes of people who play the game is difficult to determine, it seems the games developers are certainly on the right track. An inventive way to encourage environmentally-friendly behavior, and all it takes is a bored few minutes in the office.
Get the full scoop on Power House from Fast Company.