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Conserve Energy with the Ambient Orb

How's your energy bill? How's the weather?

For managers concerned about energy conservation, for environmental or economic reasons, Wired offers a solution this week -- the ambient orb.

Originally used to keep track of the markets, the glowing orb pulses a calm blue if things are going well and a scary red when things head downhill. It can be used to monitor any kind of data -- weather, traffic, even pollen counts. And now to encourage energy conservation.

The idea is simple -- as your energy use goes up, the orb changes color, alerting you and others in the vicinity that you are an energy hog, and subtly encouraging you to conserve. Mark Martinez, who developed the idea, reports it's been surprisingly effective. Customers reduced their electricity usage by 40%.

By making the invisible visible, and (perhaps more fundamentally) by being really, really cool, the ambient orb might help your team conserve.