Residents of the McLaughlin Cluster will now be able to visually gage their energy usage by seeing an animated polar bear at “various levels of comfort or distress.” The program is called Green Lite, and it launched today.

The most visible aspect of the initiative will be real-time, animated displays in the common spaces of the Rauner, Bildner, Goldstein and Thomas residence halls. The displays, broadcast on low-energy monitors, will show an animated polar bear, designed by Sonia Lei ’08, at various levels of comfort or distress, depending on the amount of energy being used in the building. Low energy use equals a happy, healthy polar bear. High usage results in the bear suffering the effects of global warming. “The polar bear animations were chosen to give a simpler representation of what still seem to be far-distant effects of humans’ energy consumption, and to visualize those effects on the bear while offering some level of interactivity,” said Lei. The touch screen displays can also be used to view graphic representations of overall dorm performance in energy savings. The website, and eventually, the display will also provide a record of the residence halls’ energy use over time, enabling students to see whether they have made progress in reducing overall energy use.

The College’s press release, here.