How much do we know about the energy we use?
With the right tools, our city’s buildings could tell us directly about the energy we use, and give us insight into when our system is strained, and when it has the resources available for normal usage. What would those tools look like? A visual display? A siren indicating peak usage? SURGE meditates on this question with an experimental 2 hour audioscape that explores audio as a way to experience the Babson College campus energy usage from June 2011-June 2012. Taking the kilowatt-hour readings for an entire year from 5 buildings on campus, SURGE presents a space for listening to the patterns of campus life via the kilowatt hour.
SURGE was inspired by the desire to transform the habitual unthinking of energy use into a creative space for energy awareness and re-education. The aim is to create a deep and natural awareness of our energy grids, with the hope that one day energy awareness will become as common as our awareness of our weather systems: we hope to know when there's strain on the grid in the same way that we know when it's likely to rain. Knowing there is a spike in usage might impact your choice of when to run an appliance, just like knowing it’s going to rain impacts your choice of shoe that day. SURGE doesn’t aim to directly address this desire, rather step into the conversation about creative imaginings of the translation.