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Building Energy Awareness
Energy Green Island is one of the newest sites in Second Life designed to showcase green technology. The build successfully blends the wonder and natural beauty of a Japanese landscape with engaging activities and lessons promoting the use of alternative energy. “Energy Green Island is a new type of sim in which the Second Life activities lead to the actual protection of the environment,” said pippi Tiratzo (Second Life name), the island’s representative.
The island’s owner and developer, Tokyo-based Aventi Co., Ltd., worked on the island for about four months before opening it to the public on Jan. 28, 2009. At the same time, the company launched a Web site at http://www.pigsight.jp/energygreenisland to support and explain activities on Energy Green. The Web site is available in Japanese and English languages.
Both the sim and Web site are high quality, innovative builds offering unique and fun experiences. Much of the communication on the sim is in Japanese, but there are a few signs written in English scattered throughout to help explain concepts and activities to English-speaking users. Those needing more information can also access the Energy Green Web site.
Charge Your HUD
The entire island is themed on five alternative energy technologies used for power generation involving water, solar, geothermal, biomass, and wind. Residents of Second Life begin their journey through the island by arriving on a wooden dock where they are greeted with maps of the island and brightly colored information boards. A pink pig encourages visitors to pick up a HUD from the happy-looking monkey. This HUD represents each of the five technologies and related zones on the island. In each themed area, those wearing the HUD can participate in an activity related to that particular technology and increase the “charge” in the HUD. Once the HUD is fully charged, participants can go to the item exchange center in the middle of the island and use the charged HUD to get five items. Once you get the items, the HUD will discharge. Anyone can recharge the HUD and get more prizes by going back and completing each activity again. Those using the HUD can also choose to only partially charge the device, take it off, then return in the future to again wear the HUD and complete the charge. Below is detailed description of each of the activities and zones:
This zone, located in an area named Hiatari Village, demonstrates the use of solar panels to generate power. Avatars can pick up a solar panel by clicking one of the four wooden stands. To begin the activity, users find the panel in their inventory and choose “wear.” This will place the panel in the avatar’s arms and begin the animation of holding the panel up to catch the sun’s rays. An avatar must remain in place until the HUD shows a charge.
The Sakura River runs through the hydraulic power zone. Lying along its banks are mills with water wheels; nearby, the Sakura River Floodgate spans the water. Visitors charge their HUD by touching one of the pads near the wheels of the floodgate. This begins an animation causing the avatar to raise and lower the gate. When the cycle is completed, the HUD receives a charge.
Avatars really work for their charge in the biomass zone located on Father Farm. First visitors must touch one of the pads lying on the ground near the wooden wheelbarrows. This gives the user a biomass scoppe or shovel that can found in the inventory and worn. The animation involves having the avatar scoop biomass into the wheelbarrows. After shoveling straw and manure for some time, the HUD is charged. Cows stand nearby ready to generate more biomass. Before leaving this area, make sure to pick up one of the cute cows from the barn or take your picture at the staged photo setup.
This activity lies beneath the fierce and threatening volcano, Magmadake, perched high up in one corner of the sim. Steam rises from a pool at the Wild Monkey Spa near the base of the volcano. Users touch the wooden pads on the dock to obtain a geo yumomi or paddle. The animation causes the avatar to stir the waters of the pool. Be patient, it takes time to generate power from the geothermal zone.
The wind zone can easily be found by locating the wind turbines standing tall amidst the Japanese landscape in an area known as the Kamikaze Highland. Visitors need to climb to the top of the wood tower and buy the wind uchiwa leaning against the wall. The activity begins when the user touches one of the four pads at the top of the tower. This starts an animation causing the avatar to wave the paddle and generate wind power. After some time, the HUD receives a charge from the wind power.
Getting the Good Stuff
Once the HUD is completely charged and shows an orange bar extending all the way across the bottom of the HUD, the user can visit the item exchange center located in the center of the sim. Throughout this center are many different types of Second Life gifts. The bearer of a fully charged HUD can choose up to five of these gifts by clicking on the boxes. Once the final choice is made, the HUD discharges.
Green Certificate Program
Energy Green has one additional activity located just down from the entry point in an area noted on the map as Purchase Island. Here, Second Life residents have the opportunity to contribute to natural energy by purchasing a Green Energy Certificate in any or all of the five technologies. This opportunity is possible because Aventi purchases green credits from Energy Green for the power generated by a wind turbine in Ishikari City, Hokkaido.
Any resident wishing to purchase certificates can visit the spinning globe in this area and make their purchase from the stones scattered around the perimeter of the globe. Each stone represents the five alternative energy technologies based on the use of solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydraulic power. In order to make the purchase, an avatar must stand in front of their favorite method of power generation, right-click the stone, and select “Payment.” For each $5L paid, 100wh of power is purchased. The purchaser receives a Green Energy Certificate indicating their participation in that particular technology. This in-world certificate can then be displayed in a home or place of business to designate that avatar’s participation in helping to support development of alternative energy. At the time of purchase, a link to the Web site is also offered where the purchaser can print out a copy of their certificate.
Tiratzo said, “The average purchase to support the energy used by a Second Life store would be 10,000wh.” This amounts to a total payment of $500L. “The most popular certificate is the Solar one.” However, visitors do not have to purchase all of their certificates within one type of energy. By moving around the globe, certificates can be purchased in each of the five power generation types.
About Aventi, Co.
Energy Green Island is one island in an entire eight-sim estate developed and owned by Aventi. The company’s primary businesses are web development and the online sales of printer toners. All work on Energy Green was completed by the company’s web development staff.