Intelligent Dashboards: The Next Big Thing for Smart Sustainability

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Intelligent dashboards are quickly becoming the major way in which people track and manage carbon footprints and environmental impacts. From home energy use to businesses carbon output, all the way up to the green-mindedness of a city, a state, or a country, we are beginning to use dashboards as an effective way to know where we stand.

West Coast Green 2008 highlighted this point through several avenues. First, the showhouse Harbinger featured a whole house energy monitoring system from Agilewaves. The system shows a homeowner what energy resources they're consuming, how much, the cost, and how to cut down. But homes are just the beginning.

Also at WCG was a workshop lead by leaders in dashboard technology. Highlighted was the fact that energy monitoring is a must-have technology if we are to make progress. Yet while advanced science is utilized, it is a basic human trait that is captured and will make dashboards effective in reducing human impact on a global level. Leading the workshop was Gil Friend (in the above photo) is the President & CEO of Natural Logic, which has partnered with Sun Systems to create, an information-sharing community for environmentally-minded businesses. Also speaking were Warren Karlenzig, President & CEO of Common Current, and Peter Sharer, CEO of Agilewaves.

Tapping Into The Competitive Spirit
Sustainability dashboards are essentially the way we can track what we're doing and how we can improve when it comes to our eco-impact. But what will take dashboards to the next level are essentially three kinds of people: Homeowners, large business owners, and government officials. And the key ingredient to making dashboards really work is tapping into human competitiveness.

Competition At Home
Homeowners enjoy competing with themselves and neighbors in order to see how little they can spend on energy, how much they can reduce their consumption, how improved they are over the previous month, and so forth. Dashboards that allow easy access to detailed and correct information along with comparison makes this competition fun.

Competition In Business
In the same way, businesses, especially large businesses, will always want to compete with one another for who can be greener and reduce their carbon footprint the most. Examples are endless, from consumer products to business practices, everyone wants to show they're doing more for the environment to win green clout. Dashboards are the way to track improvements. Just last week IBM announced a new intelligent dashboard that will help businesses improve their energy consumption in data centers.

Competition in Government
And possibly most importantly, the competitive spirit is strong among government officials, currently mainly mayors, to make their cities the most green around. We've seen it happen between Mayor Chuck Reed of San Jose and Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, vying to make their cities the greenest of them all.

When third parties collect and publish rankings that show some cities lagging far behind on green initiatives, those city officials feel the glaring eyes and want to do what they can to improve their image and their green ranking. The next logical step is to implement a dashboard in which elements of environmental-friendliness can be monitored.

Dashboards Are The Future
Being able to measure consumption and analyze it effectively is the heart of conservation and change. Dashboards are going to be more and more popular as energy monitoring is put on the front burner. We'll keep our eyes open and let you know when new technology comes on the scene that will help us be ever more vigilant about energy consumption.

More on Energy Monitoring Systems:
University of Richmond Awarded Energy Monitoring System
Agilewaves Shows Off User-Friendly Home Energy Monitoring System
Hudson River Environmental Monitoring Goes High-Tech
Onzo Energy Meter Displays Carbon Footprint

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