21 (Eco)Visualizations for Energy Consumption Awareness

Posted to Visualization  |  Nathan Yau

Energy consumption grows more and more concern, and with the popularity of Mr. Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, just about everyone is at the very least, semi-aware of energy consumption. These 21 visualizations and designs were created to increase that awareness, so that maybe, a few more people will turn off the light when they leave a room. I think Peter Crabb said it best (which I borrowed from Tiffany Holmes’ ecoviz paper):

[P]eople do not use energy; they use devices and products. How devices and products are designed determines how we use them, which in turn determines rates of energy depletion.

Here they are – 21 dashboards, ambient devices, games, and calculators.

Environmental Dashboards

The growing availability of energy data has lent itself nicely to dashboards that let viewers keep track of how much energy is consumed at any given time. They are perpetuated by the idea of living buildings and devices.

7,000 Oaks

Using the tree metaphor to mentally link energy consumption to the physical world.

7000 oaks

Energy Literacy


Energy Tree


Energy Joule

Another one from ambient devices.



Oh yeah, definitely going to be hooked up to every computer in 10 years…


Mapping Energy

We’re trying to save the world right? We better map it. Here’s what the world looks like in terms of energy consumption.

Gas Temperature


Breathing Earth

I posted about this one a little while back – based on carbon dioxide emission rates.


Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA)

You knew this was coming. Another Google maps mashup.


Carbon Tracker


Ambient Visualization

Energy consumption can serve as awareness decoration too. These devices serve as pretty things on your desk while creating energy awareness.

Ambient Orb

It glows and changes color according to the amount of electricity in use.



It’s similar to the ambient orb, but it shows a number that comes from your meter in the basement.


Flower Lamp

Watch the lamp flourish and close up, dependent on how much energy you’re consuming.


Power Cord

Pretty glow. Glow. Mesmerized.


Saver Clip

Hook up the clip to a power cord and watch the fluctuations.


Statistical Graphics

Bar charts are easy to understand.

Vampire Energy

I vant to suck your energy. I mean vlood.


Real Costs

This is interesting. It’s a Firefox plugin that overlays charts showing “real cost” in terms of energy for stuff like flights and train rides.



Energy calculator, and before you ask, no, I don’t watch 5 hours of tv per day. I watch 10.



These don’t fit into any category really, but are interesting nevertheless.


A variation of the greatest game ever.


Eco Tonoha

Get NEC to plant more trees by building virtual ones.




Black Balloon Campaign

Black balloons represent green house gas produced whenever you use energy. I have the power to make a difference. So do you.



Years You Have Left to Live, Probably

The individual data points of life are much less predictable than the average. Here’s a simulation that shows you how much time is left on the clock.

Jobs Charted by State and Salary

Jobs and pay can vary a lot depending on where you live, based on 2013 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here’s an interactive to look.

Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.

Reviving the Statistical Atlas of the United States with New Data

Due to budget cuts, there is no plan for an updated atlas. So I recreated the original 1870 Atlas using today’s publicly available data.