Emissions as a currency

A screenshot of the App
A poster illustrating the project background


This project was created as part of a speculative design course by Maik Groß and Paul Kaeppler at HfG Gmünd — developed in collaboration with Hilda Kalyoncu, Martin Wehl and Marius Schnabel

My role

Scenario building
Concept development
UI Design

A fictional currency

What if every good and service had a price based on the environmental impact of its production and useage?

Making climate change tangible

While logically many are aware of the consequences of climate change, it can be tricky to connect emotionally to a topic that often feels abstract and distant.

With increasing carbon taxes in many countries, we already have a system that ties costs to the consumption of ressources. This project takes the idea to the extreme, making it relatable for the individual by translating the impact of unsustainable behavior into a fictional currency we call TerraCoin*.

A digital wallet

Keeping track of the personal environmental impact

To communicate the scenario we designed a combination of a digital wallet and a physical artifact. The role of the prior was to root the project in reality.

  • Illustrate how spending and earning works
  • Create a feeling of realism and familiarity
  • Focus on areas with the most environmental impact

The device

Having a monument of your behavior in your home

Connected to the wallet, each person would poses a device that’s a symbolic representation of their footprint. Consisting of four layers that represent expenses related to lifestyle, food, living and transportation, a light indicates the “health” of a section, starting to flicker and eventually go out, when going over budget on one section.

  • Emotionalize spending money
  • Communicate ubiquinty and scale of the problem
  • Convey urgency and grab attention

Development process

The visual language of the project takes inspiration from Tadao Ando, Kenya Hara, Dieter Rams and the illustrations from »Anatomy of an AI System«. To respect the seriousness of the topic, we opted for a very functional appearance, instead of using a style that would make it feel too rooted in the current time or oddly futuristic and unrelatable.

We build prototypes for the app and device, created a series of posters and a video showing current news around climate change, which would be combined in the context of an exhibition.

Collage of pictures showing the prototyping process and parts of the exhibition design