Is Virtual Gaming Actually Helpful for Cutting Energy Consumption?


Image via Shaspa

OpenShaspa Home Energy Kit is a cool new tool coming out today from Shaspa that allows you to monitor and control your home's energy use while roaming around a virtual world. It's an online gamer's dream way of making sure their home is energy efficient - much like Stanford professor Byron Reeves has predicted, and hopes will catch on. However, when virtual gaming uses a huge amount of power to keep people online, does it really present an option for significant energy savings?From Earth2Tech:

While in Hong Kong on a business trip recently, Oliver Goh was on his laptop playing around in a virtual world, when he realized he’d left the water running in his home back in Switzerland. He noticed this because the virtual world contained a recreation of his Swiss residence that pulled information about the home’s energy and water consumption in real time. The gauge that measures water use was blinking. No problem: After his avatar hit the right button, the real-world water valve in Switzerland turned off.

On the one hand, what an excellent way to know what is or isn't happening at your physical home while you're away, and controlling it online. It's a far smaller hassle than calling up someone with a spare set of keys to your home, and asking them to go turn off the water for you (though, really, how does someone leave for a business trip and not make sure their water is shut off?).

But on the other hand, we know that virtual gaming is a major energy sucker, with Second Life avatars consuming as much energy, roughly, as a Brazilian. So is it really much of a savings if you're able to shut off a light switch or two in your home while perusing a virtual world?

Other energy management systems can be controlled via cell phones or the web, but in what could be a first, OpenShaspa can be hooked up to a virtual world created with OpenSimulator, an open-source spinoff of Second Life, to a simulated recreation of your home. Not just a cool widget for MMO geeks, Shaspa’s developers believe that modeling energy consumption data in 3D could make it more comprehensible and easier to manage.

If you're an online gamer and will be in a virtual world no matter what, then yes, perhaps it is a great tool. But if not, we suggest more energy thrifty ways of keeping tabs on your energy consumption and control your home's functions, perhaps even through Twitter.

More and more ways of watching energy use and controlling it virtually are popping up. We're interested to see who wins out on being energy efficient while helping you be energy efficient.

Via Earth2Tech
More on Online Home Energy Monitoring
World of Warcraft an Unlikely Tool for Environmentalism (Video)
Second Life Avatars Consume As Much Electricity As Brazilians
AlertMe Smart Plugs Help Automate Home Energy Use
Using Twitter to Remote Control Your Home's Lights

Tags: Electronics | Energy Efficiency | Gadgets