Design is used to create increased consumption that causes many of the environmental problems we are facing. But designmethods could also be used as a tool to create transitions and new sustainable practises.
Since 2004, the Swedish Energy Agency has financed projects with the aim of changing human behavior and habits concerning energy consumption. Since 2005, the research programme Energy, IT and Design (EID) has been available to support projects with 7 million SEK per year. Many projects have dealt with visualizing electricity consumption in homes, workplaces or schools. The Swedish Energy Agency wanted to take this one step further and establish the research area by supporting the setup of a centre at the Royal Institute of Technology.
During the spring of 2011, Sara Ilstedt ( Design, energi och hållbar utveckling, KTH 2011 ) produced a pilot study aiming at investigating the requirements for, and direction of, such a centre. During the pilot study, various parties were contacted within the design business, at the Royal Institute of Technology and general public. It was clear that this initiative is in line with the times and that there is considerable interest in supporting an initiative to do with design and sustainable development. Konstfack - University College of Arts, Crafts and Design immediately stepped in as partner, as did three of Sweden’s largest design consultancies.
In June 2011, the Swedish Energy Agency granted a 3-year project called ”Building networks and knowledge for sustainable design” . It can be regarded as the start of the Green Leap initiative and demonstrates the long-term intention of the Swedish Energy Agency to invest in Green Leap. Green Leap then had two more applications granted, “Everybodys Energy” and “Prototypes for a sustainable future” . Green Leap has since received funding for a number of new projects and also participated in research projects hosted by other institutions.