Green Games: Plan It Green

In 2008 the Pew Research Centre estimated that over 50% of American’s play video games, and over 80% of young Americans. It isn’t a huge leap to see that games provide a powerful opportunity for education and engagement. In this regular blog feature, we will be reviewing games with a social mission.

For most of us, our relationship with energy is simple. We flip a switch, the light goes on, right? Of course, our relationship to energy is far more complex, and understanding our energy system is the first step to changing it.

Plan it Green is a Flash game produced by the National Geographic Society. In the game, you play as the Mayor of Greenville. Your mission? To take the burnt-out industrial town of Greenville and transform it to a clean, green, livable urban community. The game lets you retrofit older housing stock, build new efficient buildings, build bike paths, community gardens, and incorporate renewable energy sources into the cities energy mix.

While this game does not capture the complexity of urban planning and sustainability issues (and that’s a tall order!) it does provide a good introduction to what makes a community sustainable – energy efficiency, walkability, integration of renewable energy and green business.

This game plays in the style of SimCity, although simplified, and would be suitable for children between the ages of 8 – 13. This game is simple and cheerful, with a bright interface that invites participation.

A free trial of the game is available at http://bit.ly/PggQWW.

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Retrofitting Urban Towers

Affordable Energy Canada: Tower Retrofit Series:

In the City of Toronto, over 40% of the low income population are estimated to live in aging, uninsulated tower buildings. Given that many of these buildings heat with electricity, rising prices can increase the impacts of energy poverty in these homes. This is a dynamic that is echoed in cities across Canada. This fall, Affordable Energy Canada will be hosting a series of webinars, looking at the challenges and oppourtunities that come with retrofitting our cities aging tower stock.  Check out our Communities of Practice page to find out more!