GOOD

Can This App Help Workplaces Become Greener?

Earn badges, pins, points—and keep track of the dollars you're saving by making sustainable choices.

Not every workplace has great green policies. Some places—like my last job—are more than willing to make changes if employees show interest. We got compost bins, real dishes and a dishwasher, and even two pool bikes in that office. But sometimes it's hard to make those changes, too.


I've been wondering for a while how to maximize the impact of a few interested (even marginally interested) people in a workplace, and the answer may have dropped into my lap.

JouleBug is an app designed to help users save money and cut down on energy usage. The app is launching nationally today, as is JouleBug Communities—more on that in a second.

It's like a Foursquare for sustainable acts. Earn badges, pins, points, etc.—but JouleBug also tracks energy savings in dollars, which is perhaps a stronger motivator for some! It's not geared specifically for workplaces, but I think offices are where people who are normally pretty conscious of sustainability issues let things slide a little, because it's frankly a lot easier to control your carbon footprint in your own castle.

A midday reminder that what you do at work matters can't hurt.

[vimeo][/vimeo]

Communities is JouleBug's solution for forward-thinking organizations. The marquee client is the city government of Raleigh, N.C. Using JouleBug Communities, government employees are competing with one another to see who can save the most energy and money for the taxpayers—which is cool. Cooler still is that this is just the beginning for JouleBug, and I expect we'll see corporate clients pick it up and try the same thing soon.

Even if your workplace doesn't adopt it, though, you can sign up and grab the free app, then compete with coworkers, keeping track of those reusable dishes you've been bringing to the office, the biking to work that you do when it's not bike-to-work-day and the local beer you brought to the holiday party.

The app is available for iPhone—but not yet for Android. So I haven't tested it. If you guys do take it for a test run, let me know what you think, here or on Twitter.

If you happen to be going to SXSW Eco this week, you can check out the JouleBug booth there.

Articles

October is domestic violence awareness month and when most people think of domestic violence, they imagine mostly female victims. However, abuse of men happens as well – in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But some are taking it upon themselves to change all that.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

At this point most reasonable people agree that climate change is a serious problem. And while a lot of good people are working on solutions, and we're all chipping in by using fewer plastic bags, it's also helpful to understand where the leading causes of the issue stem from. The list of 20 leading emitters of carbon dioxide by The Guardian newspaper does just that.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via International Labour Organization / Flickr and Michael Moore / Facebook

Before the release of "The Joker" there was a glut of stories in the media about the film's potential to incite violence.

The FBI issued a warning, saying the film may inspire violence from a group known as the Clowncels, a subgroup of the involuntarily celibate or Incel community.

Incels an online subculture who believe they are unable to attract a sexual partner. The American nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center describes them as "part of the online male supremacist ecosystem" that is included in its list of hate groups.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Since normalizing relations with Communist China back in 1979, the U.S. government and its companies that do business with the country have, for the most part, turned a blind-eye to its numerous human rights abuses.

In China's Muslim-majority province of Xinjiang, it's believed that over a million members of its Uighur population are being arbitrarily imprisoned and tortured in concentration camps. Female Uighurs in detention are being given forced abortions and subjected to sexual mistreatment.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

The vaping epidemic is like a PSA come to life. A recent outbreak of vaping-related deaths and illnesses has affected people from across 46 states. More than 800 people fell ill, and at least 17 people died from vaping. In Illinois and Wisconsin, 87% of the people who got sick said they used THC, and 71% of people also said they used products that contained nicotine. Symptoms of the illness included coughing, chest pains, shortness of breath, nausea, and fatigue. We finally might now why.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic believe toxic chemical fumes, not the actual chemicals in the vape liquid, might be the culprit. "It seems to be some kind of direct chemical injury, similar to what one might see with exposures to toxic chemical fumes, poisonous gases and toxic agents," Dr. Brandon Larsen, a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, said in release.

Keep Reading Show less
Health