On Saturday 10th April 2010 the inspirational new “Future Sparks” trailer came to Emerald where a number of different community groups and members of the local community competed to see who could produce the most amount of power using their own energy.
The day started with groups from EMFSUS (Emerald for Sustainability) and DRREA (Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Association). A number of members of both groups had some friendly competitions to see who could produce the most power. It soon became apparent who the experienced cyclists were as you watched the charts.
The trailer consists of a number of stationary bikes that have their back wheels connected to a generator. The power generated by this generator can then be fed directly back into the power grid using a normal power cord and a power point.
This generator is also connected up to a number of screens where each rider can see how much power they are generating on a bar graph. You can compete with yourself to increase the amount of energy you are producing or you can compete with others as a team.
The trailer also has a number of educational sections such as showing how much power is used to power incandescent lights compared to energy efficient lights. The trailer is designed to show you how much energy is needed to power ordinary household items. By equating energy expenditure for results in this way the aim is to make people aware of how much energy is needed to power various appliances and then inspire them to reduce their energy expenditure as a result.
The other aim of the trailer is to point out that although your own actions may seem insignificant when you have a number of people making the same action the result can be quite significant. Too many people say that “my making an effort is too small to make any contribution, so why bother”. This trailer can emphasise the effect a number of small (or not so small) contributions can make to the whole.