In August of 2012, the consequences of wasting water became more serious when Springfield’s water supply fell dangerously close to the point where Springfield residents would have faced mandatory water restrictions and rate increases. At that time, Drury partnered with other local colleges and universities to decrease water usage, and Drury’s student group Think Green! began handing out bottles of sand to go in toilet tanks, shower timers and other devices to help students cut back on water use.
Out of that effort was born the EcoScore App for Apple devices, which was developed by students on Drury’s Enactus (formerly SIFE) Team, “We identified a need for the Springfield area and decided this was the best way to bring water conservation into the household. We figured an app was better than a pamphlet,” said Kate Elam, EcoScore project leader.
Unlike that pamphlet that may wind up in the recycle bin, the app stays on the user’s smartphone. A user survey on the app gauges water usage, electricity usage and waste production. It then offers tips on the best ways to cut back and save the user money.
“It’s not just environmental, but an economic issue. People’s bills were going to increase so we not only wanted to cut usage but also help people save money,” said Leigh Anna Stone, Drury senior. “Many Drury students live off-campus and are trying to save on utilities. It’s not just their parents who are trying to cut back.”
The only problem in developing an app was that none of the students had ever created an app before, “I just started watching some YouTube videos and researching it online,” said Kurman Rysal, a Drury senior originally from Kyrgyzstan. “I then just applied what I learned to creating this app.”
Now that Apple has approved the app, the team’s goal is to achieve 1,000 downloads by the time Enactus holds its national competition in mid-May. Each team member plans to ask three people to use the app and compare utility costs, year-over-year, for three months with the hopes that it will bring down the user’s costs.
To download the app, go to the Apple App Store and search “EcoScore.”