Greenpeace has launched an interactive virtual city showcasing how towns and cities across the UK are fighting climate change and enjoying a cleaner and more secure energy future - without relying on new coal or nuclear power stations.
The new online town, called EfficienCity, uses interactive case studies and animation to demonstrate how the UK could slash its greenhouse gas emissions, cut electricity bills and beef up the security of its energy supply. The town is powered by "decentralised energy", a clean and efficient energy system that provides heating, cooling and electricity to the community.
Greenpeace is asking visitors to the virtual town to "reclaim the power" from central government and instead engage with their local councils, encouraging them to implement their own local energy schemes based on efficiency, renewables and combined heat and power.
Through interacting with virtual football stadiums, supermarkets, hospitals and breweries based on real world examples, visitors can see how their own communities can join the fight against climate change by generating their own energy.
Greenpeace has developed the project in response to the official energy policy of the UK government, which currently favours large, centralised power generation and nuclear reactors as the solution to keeping the lights on and tackling climate change.
Developed in collaboration with Biro Creative - founded by former staffers of the Adbusters Media Foundation - the project shows how the solutions to climate change can be applied to every British town.
Videos, animations, slideshows and sounds guide the user through a brilliantly realised low carbon system, explaining how renewable technologies - from wave and tidal power to micro-hydro and anaerobic digestion - work. The town also shows how electricity, heat and cooling can all be part of a local energy network.
Greenpeace energy advisor Darren Shirley said: "With EfficienCity we're trying to demonstrate virtually how the real solutions to climate change can work in practise. We're hoping that visitors to the city will see that these technologies aren't science fiction - they're already available today.
"There's absolutely no reason why this kind of integrated, low carbon system couldn't work in every town in Britain. That's why we want people to get active, contact their local politicians and demand real change."
Nicholas Klassen of Biro Creative said: "To combine real world feel with technical precision, we started with a visual style based on "information graphics" and filled it out with colour, dynamism and the ordinary touches of everyday life.
"The site is designed to allow users to dig in on their own terms. Some will graze through the site and be happy with a surface-level engagement. Others will drill down to every layer to absorb every detail."