Lighter Footprints is a student-developed game aimed at engaging people to learn about and participate in sustainable alternatives to their everyday activities. Players can earn Green Points, badges, and higher levels by performing activities within the app and receive bonus Green Points by uploading their Green Button data. The number of Green Points earned for performing an activity is roughly proportional to the reduction in environmental footprint and is currently based off carbon footprint data. Participants can communicate with and compare their performance against other players, upload and view their Green Button data, and comment on and “like” other participants actions within the app.
Lighter Footprints is still undergoing development, with active research being conducted in a number of areas. Our future research goals include:
- better integration with existing social networks and platforms that facilitates group formation and encourages competition between groups
- a wider array of incentives to participate, e.g., user-generated activities, prizes, and discounts at sustainable-minded companies and local stores
- improved verification of activities using a variety of validation techniques including correlating Green Button data to the days when an energy-saving action is performed within the app, using FourSquare geolocation data to verify that the player is indeed at a Light Rail or Mass Transit station, image-based verification of activities, and social / community verification.
It is our hope that people who use our app will become more mindful of sustainable processes and practices via the social interaction and gamification elements we develop within the app.