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Designing  for  Sustainability:  
Breakthrough or  suboptimisation?
Daniel  Pargman  (
Edvard  Ahlsén,  Cec...
If  the  goal  is  to  cut  carbon  emissions  radically  by  2050,  we  urgently  
need  to…
• Install  smart  screen  fr...
“Every  little  bit  helps”  vs “looking  at  the  larger  picture”
MacKay:  “If  everyone  does  a  little,  we’ll  achie...
Sceens galore:  portable  (tablets),  intimate  (smartphones),  
ubuquitous (electronic  shelf  labels),  workly (PCs,  la...
OLED  screens  do  not  require  any  backlight  because  the  pixels  
themselves  emit  light  (when  needed)
OLED  ener...
ExperimentPilot  study  of  user  
acceptance  of  OLED-­
adapted  colorschemes
Different  persons  had  different  opinions  about  various  prototypes.
The  black  prototype  was  the  most  popular;;...
OLED  makes  great  sense  in  the  lab  …  but  how  about  “in  the  wild”?  
Squint  and  only  look  at  the  screen  ...
Where  should  the  energy  saving  potential  primarily  be  harvested?
To  realise  the  energy  saving  potential  is  ...
Your  inefficient  fridge  – should  you  replace  it  with  a  new  one?
Your  fuel-­inefficient  car  vs.  an  eclectic ...
For  the  screen,  but…
• The  phone  is  a  larger  system  than  the  screen
• The  network  is  a  larger  system  than...
Energy  used  when  charging  your  iPhone  5/6  or  Samsung  Galaxy  SIII  
from  0  to  100%  each  day  for  a  year  v...
Energy  used  when  charging  your  iPhone  5/6  or  Samsung  Galaxy  SIII  
from  0  to  100%  each  day  for  a  year  ≈...
Informant:  "I  would  first  of  all  be  curious  as  to  how  much  energy  you  
save  in  actual  numbers,  or  get  ...
Require,  ask or  beg  individuals  to  make  more  environmentally  sound  
consumption  choices?
Or,  work  with  societ...
Choice  of  systems  boundaries  make  all  the  
difference  between  “sustainable”  and  “wasteful”
Something  that  see...
Daniel  Pargman
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ICT4S - Designing for Sustainability: Breakthrough or suboptimisation


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Daniel Pargman, Edvard Ahlsén, Cecilia Engelbarg
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

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ICT4S - Designing for Sustainability: Breakthrough or suboptimisation

  1. 1. Designing  for  Sustainability:   Breakthrough or  suboptimisation? Daniel  Pargman  ( Edvard  Ahlsén,  Cecilia  Engelbarg KTH  Royal  Institute of Technology,  Stockholm
  2. 2. If  the  goal  is  to  cut  carbon  emissions  radically  by  2050,  we  urgently   need  to… • Install  smart  screen  fridges? • Pull  out  smartphone  charger  when  the  phone  is  charged? • Put  brakes  on  the  expansion  of  digital  infrastructures? • Switch  to  more  energy-­efficient  screens  for  our  digital  devices? Sustainability  – what  are  we  aiming  for  and?
  3. 3. “Every  little  bit  helps”  vs “looking  at  the  larger  picture” MacKay:  “If  everyone  does  a  little,  we’ll  achieve  only  a  little” Is  switching  from  LED  to  more  energy-­efficient    OLED  screens  =   “a  little”  or  “a  lot”? Are  OLED  screens  a  stepping  stone  to  a  sustainable  society  or   merely  a  distraction,  “sustainability  theatre”? David  MacKay’s  (2008)  :
  4. 4. Sceens galore:  portable  (tablets),  intimate  (smartphones),   ubuquitous (electronic  shelf  labels),  workly (PCs,  laptops),   homely  (TVs  smart  homes,  screen  fridges)  and  public  (large   public  displays) The  screen  =  one  of  the  most  energy-­hungry  components  in   electronic  devices OLED  screens  hold  the  promise  of  thinner,  brighter,  faster,  less   expensive  and  more  energy-­stingy  screens  (compared  to   current  LED  screens) On  the  energy  profiles  OLED  screens
  5. 5. OLED  screens  do  not  require  any  backlight  because  the  pixels   themselves  emit  light  (when  needed) OLED  energy  savings  will  happen  when  the  color black  is  displayed. OLED  energy  savings  will  evaporate  when  the  color white  is  displayed ∑  There  is  a  mismatch  between  the  energy-­saving  potential  of  OLED   screens  vis-­à-­vis  current  webpages/webpage  design  practices On  the  effects  of  OLED  screen  energy  profiles
  6. 6. ExperimentPilot  study  of  user   acceptance  of  OLED-­ adapted  colorschemes
  7. 7. Different  persons  had  different  opinions  about  various  prototypes. The  black  prototype  was  the  most  popular;;  48%  stated  they  would   use  it  “often”  or  “always”  if  available. …  though  not  primarily  for  sustainability  reasons  but  rather  for   making  each  charge  last  longer Results
  8. 8. OLED  makes  great  sense  in  the  lab  …  but  how  about  “in  the  wild”?   Squint  and  only  look  at  the  screen  technology  in  itself  vs look  at  the   larger  ecosystem  in  which  the  technology  is  placed  and  used!?   • …  Including  lifestyles,  practices,  habits,  behaviors? Holistic  perspective  – systems  boundaries
  9. 9. Where  should  the  energy  saving  potential  primarily  be  harvested? To  realise  the  energy  saving  potential  is  primarily  an  issue  of: • Hardware? • Software? • Content  providers,  webpage  design? • User  behavior? Where  should  energy  savings  happen?
  10. 10. Your  inefficient  fridge  – should  you  replace  it  with  a  new  one? Your  fuel-­inefficient  car  vs.  an  eclectic  car? Your  TV,  laptop,  tablet,  phone  vs.  OLED  screens? Interventions  can have  savings Interventions  always have  costs
  11. 11. For  the  screen,  but… • The  phone  is  a  larger  system  than  the  screen • The  network  is  a  larger  system  than  the  phone • The  universe  of  Internet  content  is  larger  than  the  network   that  shuffles  information  back  and  forth • Behaviors,  practices,  habits  are  larger  (?)  than  the  universe   of  webpages Best  case  =  90%  savings  for  the  screen
  12. 12. Energy  used  when  charging  your  iPhone  5/6  or  Samsung  Galaxy  SIII   from  0  to  100%  each  day  for  a  year  vs Energy  used  each  day  in  the  average  life  of  a  (middle-­class)  European Fisher  2012,  2014  &  MacKay  2008   Charging  your  phone  vs average  European  lifestyle
  13. 13. Energy  used  when  charging  your  iPhone  5/6  or  Samsung  Galaxy  SIII   from  0  to  100%  each  day  for  a  year  ≈  4  kWh/year Energy  used  to  manufacture  a  smartphone  =  278  kWh Payback  time  =  70  years Fisher  2012,  2014,  Raghavan &  Ma  2011 Energy  savings  vs embodied  energy
  14. 14. Informant:  "I  would  first  of  all  be  curious  as  to  how  much  energy  you   save  in  actual  numbers,  or  get  a  comparison  with  something  else  (flying   to  Thailand,  eating  meat,  printing  an  e-­mail)  -­ only  then  would  I  really  be   able  to  decide  to  what  extent  I'd  be  willing  to  change  my  browsing  habits.   But  I  can  definitely  see  me  using  the  last  [black  prototype],  if  it  brings   reasonably  good  energy-­savings” …  but  there  might  of  course  be  other reasons  for  switching A  switch  to  OLED  screens  is  not  sustainable
  15. 15. Require,  ask or  beg  individuals  to  make  more  environmentally  sound   consumption  choices? Or,  work  with  societal  actors  in  a  variety  of  societal  dimensions   (institutional,  political,  corporate,  cultural,  legal,  economic…)? Individual  behavior vs systems  and  structures
  16. 16. Choice  of  systems  boundaries  make  all  the   difference  between  “sustainable”  and  “wasteful” Something  that  seems  to  be  sustainable  when  analysed  as  a  stand-­ alone  system  (a  screen  fridge  for  decreasing  food  waste?)  might  not   be  sustainable  when  you  take  a  step  back  and  expand  the  systems   boundaries! Think  about  systems  boundaries!
  17. 17. Daniel  Pargman Thank you!