While you're engaged in your favorite MMO, do you ever stop to think about the energy consumption you use? Is there an unused light on in the house somewhere? These are the types of questions that Professor Byron Reeves of Stanford University wants gamers to ask themselves, and get more involved with through a system of smart metering technology built into the games. Essentially, players would earn points on a leaderboard for performing certain "green" tasks like turning off lights... in the game.

Reeves recently pitched his idea to the radio show Living on Earth, where he described the process to the host, Bruce Gellerman and "avid gamer" Colin Ahearn. "So people will do something in a virtual world for points that they wouldn't do in the real world for money? I mean, I could save money by simply turning off my lights," Gellerman pointed out. The discussion goes on from there as Reeves explains how the system would be competitive and carry over into the real world. "So the whole goal here is to align entertainment and fun with utility and community value," Reeves said.

You can find out more information on Reeves's research at the Stanford website, watch a video on his plan in action or listen to the interview in mp3 format on the Living on Earth website.

This article was originally published on Massively.