Future Sparks comes to Emerald

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.

Linda Ballis and Peter Cook from DRREA compete on Future Sparks trailer
Linda Ballis and Peter Cook from DRREA compete on Future Sparks trailer

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.

EMFSUS members compete on Future Sparks trailer
EMFSUS members compete on Future Sparks trailer

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.

John Ballis, Lee Fuller and Sarah Cole at Future Sparks trailer
John Ballis, Lee Fuller and Sarah Cole at Future Sparks trailer

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.

Future Sparks  screens showing amount of power being generated
Future Sparks screens showing amount of power being generated

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.

Future Sparks  Trailer at PAVE festival in Emerald
Future Sparks Trailer at PAVE festival in Emerald

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.