Creative Energy Conservation with Switches Too Gross to Turn On (Video)

gross light switch image

Image via Make

A clever designer has come up with great ways to get us to conserve energy. They built switches that keep us from wanting to, or being able to turn the electricity on in the first place. From switches that have little hairs stretch toward your finger as it approaches, to switches that retreat into the wall when you reach for it, these creations are the definition of smart energy conservation strategies. According to Make, the installation piece by artist Katrin Baumgarten is a collection of 14 switches each "transformed in a disgusting way." She wants to show that people are both repelled and disgusted by the transformation of the switches, though admittedly, it'd be hard to bring myself to touch some of these without being seriously in need of some light.

Included in the collection is a switch that spits out snotty goo at you, and the one shown above where the hairs stand on end when you try to touch it.

dynamic switches (from switch series) from Katrin Baumgarten on Vimeo.

Baumgarten writes, "Through its simplicity and its everyday occurrence, the interaction with a switch has been marginalised into subconscious behaviour. We do not recognize its existence anymore, although this elementary form of interaction is a basic part of our life and controls our use of energy."

Would your energy use drop if you were made more aware of the on/off button every time you used one? Considering that research has shown energy consumption drops an automatic 5-15% effortlessly when someone is shown their energy consumption in real time, we're guessing, yes.

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