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Gamification and Energy Efficiency: It's About the Player, Not the Game

Nick Lange -

As with any new business trend or buzzword, there's an important difference between knowing what gamification is—the intentional use of game mechanics and principles to achieve non-game objectives—and knowing why it matters and how it may be used to influence behavior. Over the last few years, we've seen what gamification has to offer and we've also learned what drives success: the key to unlocking this potential isn’t found in the game, it's held by the player.

While most people know what it's like to play games, very few understand how game mechanics actually work. What makes them fun, and why do people willingly choose to spend time playing them? Underneath the sizzle of technology, we have found that gamification offers a compelling and preferable approach to the delivery of energy efficiency programs.

Through technology we can engage large numbers of individuals with systems that facilitate the personal journey to saving energy. This connects the disciplines of program planning and design, marketing, and web development with an intense focus on user experience.

Engagement is a Personal Experience

Successful games are the result of a careful and well-executed design and testing. Creating and sustaining fun, meaningful experiences is a psychological undertaking, requiring understanding of human behavior and energy efficiency. Why do some efforts in this realm drive best-in-class engagement while others sputter, cough, and struggle to cross the starting line? Shallow and formulaic approaches flounder because they prioritize aesthetics over the user experience. In contrast, successful approaches develop a coherent collection of interactions that work within the irrational world of human behavior. That's the key value of gamification: it properly restores the focus of program design and delivery back to the individual.

To read more about Gamification and Energy Efficiency, read our white paper featured on Efficiency Vermont.

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