Christina's elevator signs

I am going to make signs next to the elevator that dissuade people to use the elevators and are informative.

Questions for the survey:

Would a sign next to an elevator saying how much energy is waisted by using the elevator discourage you from using the elevator?

how many times a day do you use an elevator?

what would a convincing sign say?


Sustainability Final
Christina Obiajulu


Sustainability Final

Christina Obiajulu


1.6. Students involved in this action

Christina Obiajulu1.1. What


After sitting in the lobby of the IES building for only an hour, I observed 25 students use the elevator, Now, this was not during the peak time in between classes or after lunch. So if we multiply this number by 2 for peak times and then calculated on average how many students use the elevator a day I would say on average 300  students . After observing this it was obvious to me that the students at IES used the elevator more often than the stairs and thus it could be said that they have a certain level of dependancy on the elevators. So, the purpose of this action is to detere people from using the elevator and thus  reduce  this observed dependency.  So, I came up with elevator signs that are hung up outside of the elevators on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors. These signs use humor and disadvantages to taking the elevator, like long waiting time or awkward rides, to  encourage people to use the stairs. 

Image elevatorsigna.odt

1.2. Why does this action make things more sustainable?

The elevator action is encouraging  people to get in the mindset of using their legs instead of machinery. Using one's own body, instead of machinery, in many cases, is the most energy efficent means of travelling (Session 19). However, since the IES building is only 5 floors the elevator does not use that much energy. It has been calculated that per floor (one direction, 3 meters) the elevator uses 2.5 Wh (how much energy). So, it would take 25 Wh, to make one full round trip, going from top to bottom of the building. Now, if we assume that the elevator makes about 70 round trips a day, that is 1750 wh. That is about the same amount of energy a blow dryer uses (saving electricity). So, as you can see, the amount of energy used is not large. However, the point of this action is to not only reduce unnecessary energy use, but more importantly, to make peoples' way of thinking more sustainable.  The goal is t change the attitudes of those who constantly use the elevator.  This would reduce dependency on elevators and cause students to become less dependant on other machinery, like cars or buses and just walk places.

Also, changing someones way of thinking is the most sustainable action that there is because ideas can be spread quickly. The more people that change mindsets, the more people that spread sustainable ideas to others, thus causing the sustainabe lifestyle to be perpetuated and resillent. If  this action is successful in the long term it would help people reduce their carbon footprints and live more sustainable with out the reliance on less efecient modes of transportation.  

Also, there are other benefits of taking the stairs which are sustainable. For example, taking the stairs can be a more efficent use of time. There have been many times where I've taken the stairs and gotten to my destination, while people were still waiting for the elevator to arrive. Also, when people take the stairs, they don't have to be slowed down by stopping at floors that are not their destinations, like they would in elevators.  Another benefit to using the stairs is that it encourages people to get some excercise, which, in turn, makes them healthier and live longer and thus be more sustainable. 



1.2.1. SWOT Analysis


-good location which reaches a lot of people


-plays to peoples vanity/insecurity about being lazy

-would save energy




- the amount of stairs to climb maybe too much

- laziness

-after lunch slump




-increase awareness about energy consumption

-change mind set of viewers

-reduce dependency on machinery for transportation. If they can use their legs to go up stairs they can use their legs instead of a car





-maybe taken down

-could offend people


(see free_SWOT_analysis_template.pdf)

1.2.2. Feedback loops


Spread awareness (-)-> use of elevator (+)> use of energy (-)->more people walk -(-)->dependance on elevator -(+)-> use of elevation

1.2.3. Potential Benefits

A short term potential benefit from this action is less use of energy in IES building and people being deterred from using the IES elevator. A Midterm potential benefit is people changing their outlook on using elevators and becoming less dependant on elevators. A Longterm potential benefit is that people carry the idea to walk instead of use machinery into other aspects of their lives, such as walking instead of riding the escalator or  driving cars. If this benefit is fulfilled, then these people will lead more sustainable lives. 

1.2.4. Potential Costs

Potential costs to this action is the energy exherted by those who choose to climb the stairs. 

1.3. How

To make the flyers,  first I thought of catchy or persuasive phrases to put on the sign. When I decided on the phrases, I formatted the flyers on Open Office. Then I printed the flyers on scrap paper and hung them next to the elevator.

1.3.1. "Cradle to Cradle" design

 Scrap paper was used to create this flyers. Through the use of scrap paper, I enacted a waste equals food model in which the waste from someone else was what I used to create my product. Also,  after the sign has served its purpose it could be used as scrap paper again.

1.3.2. Questions for the unified survey

Have the elevator signs dissuaded you to use the elevators as much?

How many times do you use the elevator perday?

1.3.3. Analysis of the results in the survey

Since only 5% of IES students took this survey and the ones that did take it either did so because they were requeired to for class or highly motivated. With this being said the results from the survey are not substantial enough to give insight into students' reception of the signs.

1.3.4. Incentives

The incentive to this project is to be healthier and tone your legs. Whether it be based in vanity, self-conciousness or a true desire to be healthy, I feel as though these incentives would make most people want to take the stairs. 

1.3.5. Relationship with the "Sustainability Club" (SC)

There is no relationship with the sustainability club.

1.3.6. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?

The beauty about this action is that it doesn't require much  maintenence. Once the signs are up, they can stay up until they are illegable. When this time comes I'm rellying on a future student,  maybe someone who is in this sustainability class, to choose to renew this action. This is likely because this is an easy renewable action that only requires someone to retype the signs and reprint them. 

1.3.7. Document format

Open Office was used to create the flyers. Open Office is a FLOSS application (free libre open source software) It is in the .odt format

1.3.8. Copyright license of report

A cc-by-sa copyright is being used. 

1.4 chart of tasks


1.5 hours

 30 minutes 30 min

christina obiajulu

brainstormed ideas for flyers

typed up flyers on open office  hung up flyers on the 1st 2nd and 3rd floors of IES


1.5. References & Links



How much electricity do computers use? Saving Electricity <http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/computers.html>

Nelson, Patrik. “How much energy does a hairdryer use?” eHow<http://www.ehow.com/about_5368273_much-energy-hair-dryer-use.html>

Clock Picture from article Mcdurman, Joel “The time is short” American Vision <http://americanvision.org/4068/the-time-is-short/>

Awkward Cartoon from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_jxMf70kNrBQ/TFqzWFOu16I/AAAAAAAAAOI/sZH74NR0yxs/s1600/awkward.gif

"Richard Simmons congressman?" CNN  

"Richard Simmona bowtie"




1.6. Students involved in this action



Christina Obiajulu


 Assignment 4: Peer review form

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Items found: 16
Grade per actionReviewerComments
88 agluskerAlthough I think taking the stairs is a good idea, I do not see the urgency of this action or how it relates to Sustainability- maybe you could elaborate on this in your action page. As a group of students, I think that a poster will not be as convincing as you would like it to be. Maybe you could set up a program with eco-euros that rewards students who do not use the elevator once for the entire semester.
81 Brian McNevinTaking the stairs is definitely more sustainable than using the elevators. However, the signs do not provide any incentive to taking them over the elevator. I take the stairs here at IES, but I don't think the signs have effect on others.
88 carlafI am a believer in taking the stairs over an elevator. Especially when there is only three floors. Less trips the elevator has to make would definitely result in less energy used. In order for the signs to really dissuade people from using the elevators, maybe make them embarrassing - put pictures of overweight people or saying things like "are you that lazy?"
88 CFaheyI think its very true that students often do use the elevator but I feel like they use them on the way up more often than on the way down. Since signs probably cannot be put on the ground floor since it is a shared building maybe post an article on one of the other IES facebook pages regarding the energy used by elevators as well as the health benefits of using the stairs.
81 gnardiAlthough I think posters are always helpful, i do not think that they are really enough to convince students to not use the elevator. also, im not really sue i understand the "threat" in your swot analysis about how taking elevators may "offend" people. also how will you prevent the posters from being ripped down? You said that once you are gone the posters can remain up, but posters do in fact require maintenance.
92 Julia NuttI think that this is a good idea because it is beneficial in many ways to take the stairs. I think that signs would definitely help motivate students to use the stairs rather than taking the elevator. I think that there should definitely also be an incentive for students to take the stairs over using the elevator. I don't think that signs alone will help motivate students.
80 Kmacdonald4I like the idea of encouraging people to reduce their energy use so maybe you can expand your action to more than just taking the stairs instead of the elevator. For example turning off lights and appliances when they are not in use could also help to save electricity. Im not sure a sign next the elevator will be incentive enough for most students
86 m.bernsteinI do think that reducing dependence on elevators leads to a healthier life. You should incorporate that one reading we had to redo cities to be more about the people which would wake more walking and lead to healthier life. See if they list any feedback loops or helpful information. A threat to your action though is the fact that posters might not be enough to convince a person to use the stairs. You should incorporate a competition of some sort maybe.
90 MarthaMayGreat idea! My only concern is that a sign is not going to impact anyone´s decision drastically. When students are hung over, sleep deprived, or just plain lazy they are not going to pay attention to a sign.
82 MbowermanI think it's always good to encourage people to save energy but maybe adding more then just facts about the elevator would help. You could even design a sticker to go by the light switches that encourages people to turn it off or something. But in general I think a lot of people don't even think about the elevator being a waste of money so it's good to inform them.
81 Sarah ColeI agree that these signs aren't really enough to convince students, I think you need more incentives to encourage students. However, if students listen to the signs its a good way to improve sustainability.
84 seantubridyGood idea to use the signs to try to reduce energy use by the IES building and to exercise. Some facts and statistics on the signs would be more effective. The people need to know what incentives they are getting by using the stairs.
91 SolomonBPThis is a good thing to do, but I don't know if it will actually effect anyone's decision on whether or not to take the stairs. Still it a good way to promote another small way of being more energy conscious and making the little changes to our everyday lifestyle that contribute to more sustainable means of living. I would definitely focus more on the health benefits of taking the stairs over the environmental destruction implemented by taking the elevator. Think the health factor will be what students are most open to.
87 steph.eastlakeI think that this is a good idea to deter people from taking the elevators. However, it may not really provide good enough incentives to make people stop. I think there needs to be more incentives or rewards.
74 vsienkieThis is a good idea but Im not sure how receptive people will be to the signs. Maybe you could make a presentation in the spanish classes about the harmful effects on the environment that come from using an elevator and how easy it is to lesson these effects by simply walking.
90 vydraThis is a very original idea. I see people all the time taking the elevator up only one floor, even though taking the stairs would be actually faster. I know you said you only placed it on the floors that IES has, but I think the sign would be most beneficial on the bottom floor because thats when people have to climb up stairs instead of down. These signs would have to be in Spanish, as well as English, to truly be sustainable because other people work in the building besides IES.

 Grades for this action report (From the PROFESSOR)

Items found: 2
2.14 Christina's elevator signs (Christina Obiajulu) Good Overall idea. Feedback loop. Improvable Presentation: there are many leftovers. Please improve. "I have hung up these signs on the 1st 2nd and 3rd floors since these are exclusively IES." Signs? Upload the digital document of those signs at the course website and link it from here. And you could provide some picture of the sign at the elevator, to improve the presentation of your report. 1.2.1. SWOT: O: "reduce dependancy". Dependance on what? 1.2.3. "Longterm benefit is decrease of bill" Any estimate of how many euro might be saved because of using less the elevator? to answer this, you could monitor some day how many time the elevator is used by students, and how many times might be less used because of the signs?, ... 1.3. Rewrite based on the comments at 2011a General Comments "I made the flyers and hung them up outside the elevators, all in a few hours." Where are they?... How many hours did you invest? (as potential "cost" in time of this action). 1.3.1. "The waste from this project is paper. After this has served its purpose the signs could be used as scrap paper." Ok, and why not using scrap paper for the signs? (Waste = food, at a higher level). 1.3.3. Empty. Discuss, or justify why it's empty. How many people read it or changed their habits due to your signs? 1.3.7. Why not .odt (iso standard) and pdf? Copyright of format... 1.3.8. Revise it based on 2011a General comments 1.4 & 1.5. Expand, improve.
Congratulations for the final action you made! And very good signs! (easy to improve from any computer with any OS since you provided them in .odt) There is leftover text at the beginning (from previous version?), and reference didn't have full details. 2nd

Page last modified on Monday 03 of November, 2014 19:15:36