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JouleBug Improves Sustainability for Communities

Cary, NC – I first heard of JouleBug in November 2012 at the Entrepreneurs Lecture Series held by the NC State Entrepreneurship Initiative. Grant Williard was giving his advice on the most important things to do when you are standing up a new start-up company, and he showed off his new venture – JouleBug.

What is JouleBug?

JouleBug is a playful mobile app that encourages you to improve your sustainability habits at home, work, and play. By competing with your Facebook and Twitter friends to earn badges and pins, you can lower energy bills, reduce waste, and make a big impact on the planet.

JouleBug is a free app available in the Apple App Store and in the Google Play Store. Communities subscribe and pay for service to get their citizens involved in sustainability activities.

130821 JouleBug badge RaleighJouleBug Adoption in the Triangle

In October 2012, Raleigh partnered with JouleBug and the custom “Sustainable Raleigh” badge was released making Raleigh the first municipality in the nation with a City badge  (More details are in the Raleigh Press Release). The JouleBug Sustainable Raleigh badge is available to users who earn enough points and pins by accomplishing various tasks unique to Raleigh such as:

  • Downtown Walkaround – Complete the Downtown Raleigh Sustainability Walking Tour
  • Raleigh Rocket – Ride an R-Line bus
  • Juice Box – Use a Raleigh electric vehicle charging station
  • Solar Squisher – Use a BigBelly solar recycle station
  • The City of Spokes – Exercise along one of the City’s sustainable parks or greenways
  • Hometown Hero – Volunteer eight hours of community service within the City

130821 JouleBug badgeToday, the Town of Cary announced a partnership with JouleBug with an exclusive “Cary It Green” badge which highlights conservation activities and programs offered by the Town of Cary (More details are in the Cary Press Release). The release of the mobile app to convey sustainable practices in Cary comes on the heels of the Town’s recently expanded Cary It Green Facebook page. The JouleBug “Cary It Green” badge is available to users who earn enough points and pins by accomplishing various tasks unique to Cary such as:

  • Trash to Treasure – Donate an item instead of throwing it away
  • Aquastar – Log into your online Aquastar account
  • Spruce It Up – Volunteer for a green volunteer project
  • Park Place – Walk or bike a Cary greenway

What Powers JouleBug? Competition

In May 3, 2013, WRAL ran a story on the JouleBug adoption in Raleigh. John Williard, the JouleBug Creative Director stated “We found that people are more than 10 times more engaged when they’re actively playing and competing with each other.”

Raleigh ran a competition with the winner will receiving prize worth $200. Employees at I-Cubed, a software engineering firm on Centennial Campus in Raleigh, who have been using the app and competing with each other stated that the JouleBug app has provided “the little bit of motivation that you need [to participate in sustainable activities]”

What Do You Think?

  • What do you think about JouleBug? Will you download the app?
  • Is competition or ‘gamification’ required to get people to participate in sustainable activities?
  • What other activities do you think need to be added to the badges? What ideas do you have for new badges?