Your good name

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Consider the optimal amount of personal information needing to be displayed on a public-facing piece of infrastructure to influence behavior; the risk/desirability of having your name associated with your resource consumption (the black writing on the base of the yellow gas meters, the red writing on the electricity meter).

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When the (otherwise invisible) results of a behavior are made visible, people are known to react. When electrical meters are located in spaces within a house where residents may easily see how fast the meter is spinning, electricity consumption has been shown to decrease (in comparison to houses where the same gauge is located in the basement, or otherwise out of sight/mind). I believe this was done in a Scandinavian context, if my memory serves me at all. Interested in how conservation behavior would further change were gas consumption displayed prominently both internally for a residence’s occupants and externally for the entire neighborhood/apartment block to see. Consider the steps needed to turn this measurement of resource consumption into a competition to conserve said resource.

Subversively: the ability of this identification/billing system to be hacked – apparently simple. The subsequent evasion, though, there’s the rub – only counts if you get away with it, after all.

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