Putting Climate Change in the Hands of the People

Case Study Hero Image


The Energy Institute in Linz, Austria



The EU Commission


Product Discovery

Product Design

UX / UI Design

App Design & Development

Database Architecture



React (Next.js)


Big Data

OCR (update)


  • The Energy Institute from Linz, Austria was put in charge by the EU to help stop climate change on a grassroots level.
  • SBK was awarded the opportunity to use their resources to develop an app that effects real change in people’s habits, interactions, and even decisions to make the daily lives of people more sustainable
  • The app actively encourages users to make enviro-friendly choices each day by allowing them to participate in “challenges”–different green activities that benefit the environment or reduce carbon output
  • Completed challenges are rewarded with “Coins” that can be redeemed for real-life products such as organic groceries
  • Users can connect with other users and invite one another through social media and chat features to participate in these pro-environment challenges

A Global Dilemma Placed on the Shoulders of the Energy Institute

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges mankind has ever faced, with some of the worst consequences imaginable if no action is taken: food shortages, drought, wildfires, and ecosystem collapse, to name a few. In order to avoid catastrophe, change needs to happen on more than just a political or commercial level: everyday people need to understand how their daily actions affect the environment and make choices that have a positive impact on our planet. The EU assigned the Energy Institute in Linz, Austria a weighty task: changing people’s habits to promote personal awareness of how our decisions impact the environment and to provide actionable ways to help everyone live greener. The Energy Institute realized there was no better way to impact how people live than to use the object that has become the center of our daily lives: our smartphones. By developing a climate-focused app, the Energy Institute felt they could do the most good at helping people live in a sustainable way. After interviewing and consulting with numerous software developers and digital design agencies, SBK was awarded the opportunity to use their resources to help accomplish this monumental task.

A Monumental Task Takes Shape

Few things are harder to change than how people behave. Thus, changing how people live in order to avoid a catastrophe is truly a monumental challenge. Afterall, if you come on too strong, people feel overwhelmed and lack motivation. However, too weak of action results in not enough change to overt climate catastrophe. Thus, a balance was constantly needed: an app that’s personal without being invasive, motivating without being negative, and actionable without overwhelming the user. It needed to be customizable for the way people live locally, but universal enough to apply to daily life across countries, cultures, and even continents. It had to make a real impact on the environment via actions and features that are both meaningful while also sustainable for the user. Hundreds of people in Europe were interviewed to understand what everyday actions could change to have a meaningful impact on climate change. Thanks to their feedback, the everyday solutions began to take shape. Now it was time to create a way to help people act on them.

SBK Goes to Work

Despite the gravity of the task at hand, SBK knew just where to start: with the user. After collecting massive amounts of data from sample users (along with scientists, NGOs, and other sources), the different teams wasted no time in identifying the core principles that would govern what they sought to accomplish.  Everyone involved at SBK knew that both the iOS and Android app must be easy to use, accessible, and personal, regardless of the user’s age, background, or familiarity with technology. Thus, the Climate Campaigner app was designed inside and out to make the user the star. Visuals highlighted their challenges along with any photos they share with fellow climate campaigners. A simple, intuitive user-experience promoted engagement and interaction, while also providing microinteractions and animations for in-app user-feedback and to make the app come alive. By tailoring app behavior to the user themselves, the result is a personalized, useful climate tool that transcends age groups, demographics, languages, genders, and cultures–while still retaining a dynamically-personal nature and complying with all European laws and GDPR restrictions. Services that brought the app to life:
  1. Product Discovery
  2. Product Design
  3. UX / UI Design
  4. App Development
  5. Database Architecture
Technologies that made it a success:
  1. PostgreSQL
  2. Next.js
  3. Firebase
  4. React/Next.js
  5. Big Data
  6. OCR (planned with the next update)

The End Result: An App With Features That Protect the Planet

Years full of ideating, coding, testing, and reviewing paid off with an app that’s ready to change the world–literally.  Take a look at the Climate Campaigner app features:   Carbon Footprint Calculator Users need to first establish a baseline of activity before they can start moving in the right direction.  That’s why a simple questionnaire greets new users to provide answers to basic questions any adult can answer. From there, they can see how many kg of CO2 they currently generate per year from their forms of mobility, housing, food, and other sources.

User Challenges 

Once users have their CO2 baseline, they can begin accepting Challenges that promote sustainable living.  These Challenges include simple, passive tasks like unplugging unused electrical appliances for two weeks.  As people accomplish more and more, they can move on to larger, active changes such as using a cargo bike for grocery shopping or engaging in local climate policies.

User Feed

To maximize impact, social media functions were included that motivate on both a local and global level. Users can follow, like, share, and comment on other’s posts; everyone from friends and neighbors to global influencers can interact with one another to harness the power of community.  This feature lets everyone draw inspiration from one another’s green activities by seeing what others are doing to help the planet. These activities are shown in their photo feed and in their Challenge feed, which displays what Challenges they and others have accepted and completed. No social media channel would be complete without hashtags, and Climate Campaigners is no exception. Hashtags such as #mobility, #food, and #housing can be included by users on their own posts or to search for other posts.    


To help fellow Climate Campaigners reach out to one another, stay connected, and even get organized to make a change, a chat feature was implemented. This lets users connect one-on-one and in groups, along with searching for other Climate Campaigners.


Users stay in control of their climate activity with a Profile section that makes everything available with one click: their posts, Challenges, connections, carbon footprint, and rewards.


Not only is helping the planet its own reward, but an extra incentive is provided: gaining “Coins”, which have real-world value.  As challenges are completed, Coins are accumulated that can be cashed in by users for discounts on real-world sustainable goods like organic groceries.

Taking Down Climate Change, One Challenge at a Time

Few projects can have as great of an impact as helping our children live on a more healthy, beautiful planet.  Thanks to the Climate Campaigner App’s design and features, everyday people can finally take action to slow the effects of climate change while also encouraging their fellow campaigners to do the same in their communities, countries, and across the globe.