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lighterfootprint / Design_Document


Lighter Footprints is a social science experiment that examines group coordination and is focused on spreading awareness of your energy / carbon footprint in addition to concrete activities you can perform to lower your carbon footprint.

The way the app works:

  • Participants are divided into groups.
  • Each group has its own "points" goal that they need to reach to unlock more activities.
  • Players contribute points to their group by performing activities (virtually) during the time slots that they are available by logging into the app and informing the app that they are turning down their thermostat or biking to work, etc.
  • Point totals are calculated nightly and if a group doesn't achieve the total needed to advance to the next level they are reset and start over again.
  • There are 15 activities divided up into 3 levels (5 activities per level).
  • Each activity has a specific set of green points associated with it that acts as a rough indicator of how effective that activity is in reducing your carbon footprint.
  • When you start you are at level 1 and can only inform the app that you are performing level 1 activities. If your group advances to level 2 you can perform both level 1 and level 2 activities, and the same with level 3. Each level has a higher point total threshold for group contributions needed to advance to the next level.
  • A majority of the group must participate to successfully advance levels
  • Comments + likes can be used by the group to coordinate and incentivize each other to participate.

We hope to develop a better understanding of the key factors that influence successful and unsuccessful group coordination.