Autodesk Launches Online Game to Build Awareness About Green Building

Here’s a question to test your sustainability IQ:

What’s the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States?

Think carefully. In a survey last year, only 4% of Americans answered that question correctly.

Could it be cars? Trucks? Planes?

No. No. And, no.

The number one source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States is . . . buildings.

That’s right, buildings. Which means our homes, schools, offices, shops, and manufacturing facilities offer tremendous opportunities to save energy, save money, and curb climate change. As Steven Chu, US Secretary of Energy summed it up so succinctly,

“Energy efficiency is not just low-hanging fruit; it is fruit that is lying on the ground.”

In fact, 38 percent of all carbon emissions in America come from powering our buildings, and according to McKinsey & Company, energy efficiency measures alone can tackle about half the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 60 to 90 percent by the year 2050.

But, what can be done to spread the word? How can engineers, architects, landlords, and the like –as well as the general public –be encouraged to address building performance?

Leave it to Autodesk to hit upon a fresh approach. The California-based software design firm recently launched an online game, called RETROFITS , to help educate everyone–from industry professionals to teachers, parents and students –about green building issues.

Designed as half quiz show and half fast finger action, REFTROFITS builds awareness about the benefits of green building renovation as players compete for a place on the high points leader board.

“We really wanted to spread the word about the opportunities that exist in the building sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and about the economic benefits that go along with renovating and retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency,” says Catherine Palmer, Building Industry Marketing Manager, AEC Solutions, Autodesk, Inc.

Putting all that information into an online game format simply broadens the appeal.

“We also wanted to make it fun,” Palmer adds. “It’s a fun game, and you learn something while you’re doing it.”

The RETROFITS online game is just one example of the many ways Autodesk is now increasing its outreach and thought leadership around building performance. The company also has developed software that makes it easier and more affordable to complete a comparative sustainability analysis (energy, water, emissions) pre- and post-green renovations. More details about the Autodesk’s sustainability initiatives are available here.

“It’s about raising awareness,” Palmer says. “The more people we can get engaged, the better. W e want to accelerate the ability of architects, engineers, and other building professionals to address building performance.”

To meet a few characters from the RETROFITS game, watch the short videoclip below. Then, you can play the game here. Plus, you can stay up-to-date with the latest on green building issues by following RETROFITS09 on Twitter.

As a corporate content specialist and a ghostwriter for C-level executives, Kathryn's work appears at Forbes, Industry Week and other leading trade publications and websites. She focuses on topics related to science, business sustainability, supply chain risk management and marketing. Find out more about Kathryn at . You can follow Kathryn on Twitter: @CorpWriter4Hire.

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