Lucid Design Group Connects Buildings and People for Energy Reduction

How do you engage, educate, motivate and empower people to conserve natural resources? Lucid Design Group knows: get everyone on board. Since 2004, the company's Building Dashboard software has made energy and water use data comprehensible and visible to thousands of building occupants worldwide. Now, instead of guessing how much energy is being consumed in a building, company, or school, occupants can use the Building Dashboard Network to log on and watch the energy use in real time.

Lucid Design Group CEO Michael Murray believes that buildings can benefit from social networking in the same way that people do. "What made social networking websites such as Facebook successful was the fact that they mapped our social relationships online, putting friendships and contacts in a kind of virtual world … In the same way, there is demand in the market for communication and interaction between people around energy and climate issues," he said.  In just a few short years, Murray and his team have received awards from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the National Wildlife Federation, the California Cleantech Open and the U.S. Green Building Council.

Along with monitoring their own buildings, occupants use the Dashboard to compare their energy usage with that of other buildings, join in real-time energy reduction competitions and explore green building features with specialized applications.  The program brings energy use front and center by allowing users to link their building's stats with other social networking websites and post updates to personal profile pages.

Murray believes that this method of making energy use socially relevant is key to creating lasting environmental change.  “Buildings are where we spend over 90% of our lives, and buildings consume about 40% of all energy in the U.S. Because of these connections…our success or failure to solve environmental problems rests largely on our ability to interact with buildings in new ways.”

Since 2004, Lucid Design Group has installed its monitoring and display systems in hundreds of buildings across the U.S., including commercial sites, residences and academic facilities. The real-time feedback provided to occupants (and the action it inspires in them) has helped institutions reduce consumption by 10% to 56% on a long-term basis.

Lucid Design Group is currently collaborating with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to bring Lucid's real-time tracking software to LEED building owners. The Building Performance Partnership (BPP) is a pilot program encouraging LEED building owners and managers to optimize the performance of buildings through data collection, analysis and action.

Murray is excited about the new partnership and the future of Lucid, and feels that he has found the ideal location for the company.  “Oakland is becoming a hot spot for several sectors, including cleantech,” he said. “The University and the Lawrence Berkeley Lab are hugely valuable resources. We have access to the entire talent pool in the Bay Area. Also, the weather is better here than in San Francisco!”

For more information about Lucid Design Group, visit the company's website at

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