Utility | Environment | Andrea Leesley

| 4 Comments

Design that respects the environment is here to stay. People are becoming more informed and concerned with the effect products and how they can affect them in a new light. However, we are seeing more and more environmentally awards designs on a daily basis, how do we as consumers know that brands aren't using 'eco-friendly' as a marketing gimmick to persuade us to buy a certain product? On the other side of the spectrum, have some designers taken environmentally friendly too far?

For example, Relogik came up with an ecological and simple concept for the traffic light called the Eko light. The Eko light can be installed on already existing traffic lights, as a result, increasing their utility by improving traffic flow and decreasing air pollution. Relogik believes that the Eko light will help drivers and pedestrians be more aware of the remaining time until the light changes. They claim the main benefits of this light would be less fuel consumption and less pollution, because drivers can turn off their cars and cut carbon emissions while they are waiting for the light to turn green. Is this really practical? Not to mention, they also believe this will cause less stress among drivers because you know exactly how long you have to wait. Hmm...I can already picture pissed off drivers honking their horns at people waiting for them to turn their car back on. While I do think this concept sounds like a great idea, much like other environmentally friendly designs, it is a little 'over-the-top' one might say and may cause more harm than good. Adding utility to something (that already been working fine since 1920) doesn't always mean a better design. Why not just use eco-friendly bulbs?

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More recently, being 'green' has become more of a marketing concern for several brands, rather than a design ethic. When we walk through stores we can easily recognize the 'Eco-look." It seems as though the 'Eco-look' takes precedence over 'Eco-friendly".

On another note, have you ever walked through the frozen food section at Target and noticed all of the lights were off in the freezers, and when you walk by they magically turn on? I love running down the aisles in the frozen food section when the lights are off, it's like your in Vegas inside a Target. Ok, so back to my point, Target added utility to the frozen food section by installing motion triggered lights, therefore keeping the electricity bill down. This saves the consumers money because target is able to save money on their electricity bill which allows them to further lower their prices as they compete with their competitors.

4 Comments

The eko light, really. People are not going to turn off their car at a stoplight, therefore it really doesn't help the environment. They are stretching their new design to fit the target market of eco-design. I think it's beneficial to add the timer, maybe less people running red lights, which may lead to less accidents. However, can a driver even see the timer when they're driving two blocks out?

Agreed. The eko light seems pretty pointless as it takes more fuel to turn your car back on than to idle for a few moments (so I've heard.) It seems that in order for things to sell, they need to market themselves as eco-friendly, even when they're not. Now that we've all become aware of this fact, it'll be interesting to see how advertising and marketing agencies respond. Will they tune in to the fact that people have wised up?

I agree with your point that the "eco look" is more important to companies these days. Even with out saying it packaging designers and marketing specialists are able to sell things that look "green" I think that this does lead to false claims of eco friendliness, and is one the biggest ethical issues facing designers.

I think that the motion sensors at target are absolutely fabulous! I think this concept should not only be integrated into grocery stores, but also to other, similar shops. I know that schools and office buildings have put in motion sensors to rooms so they will turn on once you walk in. I think they'd do really well in bathrooms. NO ONE ever shuts off the bathroom light!

For the traffic light, I think this also is another fantastic idea. I think the idea of shutting off your car is a bit much, but maybe this would help with the idea of speeding through yellow lights which results in more gas emissions? Just a thought.

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This page contains a single entry by lees0019 published on December 2, 2010 11:08 PM.

Feasibility | Personal | Cindy Sargent was the previous entry in this blog.

Fun and the Environmental Agenda | Jonathan Glatfelter is the next entry in this blog.

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