Changing the Game was developed in 2009 by Energy Crossroads Denmark for the conference Our Opportunity as a workshop programme to guide informed discussions about the future of energy consumption and production. Since, it has been further developed and improved, and as of now about 2000 students have created their own energy future using Lego bricks.
Changing the Game is certified as an Official Partner of Sustainable Energy Europe. As such, Changing the Game is officially endorsed by the European Commision.
Energy Crossroads Denmark has partnered with the Danish School Service to develop a short version to be used for high schools.
Furthermore Energy Crossroads Denmark is a member of RCE Denmark promoting education in Sustainable development.
Energy Crossroads Denmark is a Danish NGO seeking to promote a more sustainable energy future through different activities including education.
- Collaboration and decision making
Just like in the real world many interests are at play when deciding on our energy future. Participants in Changing the Game may come with very different points of views on which future scenario is optimal. As examples the use of nuclear power and the potential of behavioral change are often subject to controversy. The participants will be challenged to argue their case and reach democratic decisions on both targets and how to reach them.
Changing the Game does not try to advocate a specific solution and as such there is no optimal solution. We have solely tried to provide a simple model of the real world, which is as realistic as possible. We encourage the participants to engage in an open and informed debate on what they think is optimal given the physical and economic constraints.
The experience hopefully encourages the participants to gain more insight and improve their skills in arguing their case in future discussions.
- Understanding energy and addressing the challenge
In order to participate meaningfully in a debate on our energy future it is essential to understand some fundamentals about energy systems. For example which energy resources can be used for which purposes, or the limitations of some power generation technologies in providing energy when needed. A fruitful discussion on e.g. the benefits electric cars requires an understanding of how the electricity needed for charging could be produced. Changing the Game provides these insights and allows for participants to discuss where they want to go within a framework that only allows feasible solutions.
Furthermore Changing the Game highlights the immensity of the challenge lying ahead. This is achieved by visually exemplifying the amounts of energy used today and showing the participants how little each technology or behavioral change can contribute. However, it becomes evident how using a palette of solutions can bring about the desired change.
- Understanding Choice
The participants of Changing the Game are faced with many choices. The different change cards used in Changing the Game describe various changes that can be imposed on the energy system, thereby altering a “2030 business as usual” scenario. All the choices have consequences that the participants must both understand and take into account when deciding whether to implement a given change or not. For example promoting fuel-cell vehicles require large investments and the money has to come from somewhere. Some choices exclude other options. For example if biomass is used for transportation fuels it cannot be used to substitute fossil fuels in power generation. Using wind power excludes to some extent using nuclear power, which has limited flexibility in its power generation. All change cards provide information on the effect of implementing a specific change and on the costs that can be measured, but it is up to the participants to discuss the qualitative aspects and make a decision.
- Visual and hands-on energy planning
Energy planning has historically been a discipline for the select few who understand the complicated models and are able to juggle all the thousands of figures and energy units in the debate.
In an attempt to make energy planning accessible to all irrespective of educational background Changing the Game tries to make things as visual as possible. Instead of using boring numbers the energy consumption is shown by many different LEGO® bricks. Each brick represents a given amount of energy, and the color of each brick indicates the type of energy resource. Black = coal, green = biomass, blue = hydropower, etc. Furthermore the CO2 emissions of fossil fuels are shown through the width of these bricks. Making things visual allows for an intuitive understanding of the challenge and alleviates the risk of getting lost in peta joules and tera watt hours in a complex spreadsheet. It also gives a much clearer picture of how much various changes to the energy system affect the overall energy consumption. Lastly participants are required to interact with each other when reshaping the towers and creating their scenario for 2030.