Tuesday, 31 March 2009

energy challenge results so far

Feedback has been good so far. The oldest of the test groups has brought some interesting results with referance to inclusive design. For example the guide would need to be visable from above as one of the males who participated struggles to bend down to turn the plugs off. So the function of turning off the switch could maybe also do with revision - ergonomics and inclusive design. Another issue riased was the success of the chart acting as a reminder, so maybe something which sparks an emotion or memory to give the consumer some form of an emotional attatchment to the energy they use would be more beneficial.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Design is a social Language !

What else can i say about this title. In many ways i think it summarises everything i want this self directed project to be and how i want my sollution to work.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Vampire energy

I saw this picture in a national geographic which really sparked my inspiration. This picture represents the fact that even when appliances are turned off if they are not turned off at the wall they still pull off energy. This is known as vampire energy which can account to around 8 percent of a house's electrical bill !

Monday, 23 March 2009

so where do we loose the most energy?

According to national geographic and and the Energy Information Administration our houses is one of the biggest culprits. Many houses use primarily electricity in the house as our source of energy however we lost 89.3 million BTU (british thermal units) per house in 2006 this is partly because electricity is transpoted via transmission lines and so it is estimated that for every kilowatt hour used we loose 2.2 kilo watt hours as the energy is generated and transmitted.

As a result of this even the smallest changes we make in the house can make a large impact for example if you cut back your energy usage by 10 kilowatt hours a week you would save 32 kilowatt hours. This would add up to 1664 kilowatt hours a year !

In terms of CO2 emmissions if we all converted half of our lightbulbs to compact flourecents we would cut our lighting CO2 emmissions by 36% or 42.4 million tons a year !

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

a picture speaks a thousand words

With referance to many developing countries they are becomeing increasing technology advanced and are catching up with western society's however in terms of communication they are still decades behind. As a result of this i am keen to develope a product which aims to elimate the need for communication, something which can be understood without the need for language.

choose a side?

I have decided the particular focus of this project is going to look at energy usage. China is very good at recycling in terms of paper and plastic etc however it is the largest culpret in the world when it comes to CO2 emmission surpassing america last year by a reported 8%.


I think you could also hit it from an interesting point of view in terms of not just preaching about saving the earth but also saving money.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

world leader ???

Iv just read an article from only febuary which states that china is a world leader in sustainability. This is certainly something which i would want to question considering according to national geographic recently China has just overtaken America in CO2 emmisions.

It is said one of China's best policies is their one child only policy where parents are asked to pay a fine if they choose to have more than one child. They have also implemented the "clean up and be happy" policy, it is said they use this over other methods as they dont have enough resources.

One thing i would like to find out is whether a simple step or product which is low cost and so affordable for a developing nation would make a significant enough fdifferance?

so who is telling the truth?

After trawling through many forms of research including magazine articles from national geographic to creative review and resources off of the internet i have tried to keep an open perspective getting information from both outside of china and from people inside of china.

I have noticed one thing, there is a huge difference between views from each side. In a national geographic it was stated that last year china overtook america in CO2 emmisions however another piece of internet research from www.csa.com associated with ProQuest says that china is set to overtake america in 2020. So the question has to be asked .... who is telling the truth?

Monday, 16 March 2009

sustainability - saving you money?

This months national geographic is based on saving energy within the home and is ideal for me and this project - what a stroke of luck !

One thing that is highlighted is many peoples reluctance in western countries to adopt a sustainable lifestyle as the feel that thier efforts will only be canceled out due to skyrocketing emmisions from developing countries such as China and India.

"As much as 80 percent of new energy demand in the next decade is projected to come from China, India and other developing nations. China is building the equivilant of two midsized coal-fired power plants a week, and by 2007 its CO2 output surpassed that of the U.S."

This only proves to encourage my enthusiasm for this project further. As you can see from the previous comment on this blog i feel it is important to understand who you are designing for and marketing to. I think how you sell this product is going to have a huge ifluence on whether it would be successful of not.

As countiries like China increasingly adopt western products and services they are still very proud of thier culture and i think it is important that you can understand this.

Friday, 13 March 2009

How do you communicate?

I recently read an article written by Jonny Tan who is BBH's creative director. He wrote a diray following a tyical week in his job talking about the difficulties that you can face when trying to communicate especially in advertising in China.

The first issue he highlights is that there is no set rules or system when it comes to advertising. It may be the case that there is but if so it is one which we dont understand as westeners. This can partly be due to there being more than one regulatory body so where we have ASA here they have thie equivilant but also the channels who are broadcasting get a say. As a result there can be inconsistancies in what gets shown.

However general areas to avoid are politics, violence, sexuality and morality. Jonny also highlights that although China has caught up with us in the West in many aspects they are still far behind in the forms in which they communicate. In particular he talks about their strong morals such as respecting elders and those who have achieved and also because they take things very much at face value metaphors, irony and self deprecating humor really does not work well.

China in becoming increasingly techology minded however they and many other developing countries seem to have little consideration in terms of sustainablility. Which is ironic in some ways as we in Britain actually send our paper to be recycled in China. I feel this is partly due to the fact that they are developing so quickly, they are missing steps. I am interested in trying to convince developing countries that sustainability is an important issue without them feeling that they are having western values inforced on them.


Having done some research into China i found a really interesting article in the national geographic which talks about the stresses and starins which are now influenced on the young children who live there. The article follows a family and their progression of thier lifestyle through the class's as china developed over 5 yrs.

In particular it follows a little girl called Zhou Jiaying, however her parents also choose to give her an english name Bella. It talks about how at the age of 4 her parents put her into spoken english and english converstaion classes by 5 she was also in acting classes and by 8 she was in piano lessons which they believed taught disaplin and developed her cerebrum and swimming lessons to make her taller as well as private tutition at weekends for school entrance exams.

Bella comes from a middle class family and as a result there is a lot expected from her, especially as in China you are only allowed one child. As i read through the article it becomes evidant that a common attitude in china is that you can always improve, as Bella is told by her parents 'you are only as good as your worst work'.

"You had to keep moving, because staying in place meant falling behind. That was how the world worked even if you were only ten years old."

I think this is a very eye opening comment made by the author, and something which is evidant throughout the article. Because of this attitude the children overtake their parents. Bella starts teaching her parents the newest slang and cool websites, she guides them on thier purchases of everything from where to eat as to what TV to buy and often is given the deciding vote. It would be interesting to see how marketing is implimented and understand how to effectively target the chinease consumer.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Back again

I do have to appologies dear blog for you being so rejected as of late. I have been written off of uni for the past wee while with ill health (i think staring at the 4 walls of my room is driving me crazy).

We have just handed in the balmoral plastics project. I am pleased with my final idea of a tank which can be inserted into the space in partition walls to recycle rain water for drinking. I rhino'd up a moke up of the guttering shape and storage box for the presentation and am quite happy with the result.

Moving on now we have a new brief. We were given the option between a client based one working with a bus company to improve child safety around buses, inparticular with rural buses. Although i was keen to do another live project a struggled to see a solution and found that the research required would be out of my depth. As a result i am keen to get cracking with the self directed option. We were given a matric of words to choose from these included inclusive sustainable exclusive working living bio mimicary and networking.


Having done some research i am keen to look further into developing contries including China and India and their energy consumption. Being such a fast developing country means that steps can be missed. In China they moved from no tele communications to mobile phones and skipped land lines all together. They are now one of the largest mobile phone users in the world. I think the clash between western and eastern views would be an interesting one to overcome.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


The health has taken a pretty huge hit recently so im afraid i have rather neglected you my dear blog. I am still following through on the rainwater harvesting device.

I have deffinatly decided that a combination of UV and activated carbon filter is the best approach to effectively filter the water.

My intention to place it in the home, preferably in partition walls hit a little bit of a bump trying to overcome the issue of storing the water and the criteria it requires but also the movement of water not only from the outside in but then also around the house. After a lot of persuauion iv convinced the other half to get me some photocopies of housing drawing etc. I wanted to determine the volume which i could achieve in terms of storage when putting it in 'empty space' as i call it.

From what i understand from Craig (the other half and very reliable source) the minimum height of a wall is 2.5 meters with a depth of 125mm and center to centre spaceing of the supporting rods of 600mm. From this i could feasibly go up to the dimensions of 250 x 12 x 50 cm. This would give me a total storage of 150,000 cm3 of water which is the equivilant of 150 litres. Thats a lot of storage. It does mean that the shape ends up basically being a box but then so are most white goods like fridges and washing machines. So is that such a bad thing?