Tutorial

Our new Carbon Tracker

  • 27 February 2020
  • 22 replies
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Our new Carbon Tracker
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Updated on 19/05/2020: For the newest version of the Carbon Tracker, check out this topic.

We’ve been busy developing a new product – the Carbon Tracker, a handy tool designed to help our members understand their carbon footprint. And now, we want to make it better.

 

It’s not fully finished, but we’d love to know what you think of our progress so far. Just so you know, the numbers showing energy use and carbon emissions are placeholder to give you an idea of the concept, and aren’t scientifically accurate (although they will be when we go live!).

Help us test it out so we can make sure it’s perfect before we send it out into the world. It’ll take just a few minutes.

 

We’re adding features that’ll help our members:

  • Compare their home’s carbon emissions to others similar to theirs.

  • See how their energy use changes over time – as well as how much fossil fuel, offset and renewable energy they need to power it.

  • Check how their home’s emissions compare to other carbon-emitting habits (like driving a car).

  • Read how we are working with our members to help fight the climate crisis.

 

Please let us know what you like, what you don’t, what you’d change. You’ll ultimately help our members reduce their carbon footprint at home, faster.

 

Thanks
OVO Forum Team


22 replies

Userlevel 5
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It massively overestimates my gas usage.

And displays this when I alter the comparison.

But really shouldn't this be in my online account so that it can use accurate figures for energy consumption?

Userlevel 6
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Good spot @NoPoke.

 

At the moment this is placeholder data to give you an idea of the concept, so it won't be accurate to your account just yet (although it when we go live). We'll make it a bit clearer in the post that this is the case. What did you think of the product overall?

 

Thanks,

Nancy

Userlevel 5
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I like that it shows how important gas (ie heating) is on overall emissions.

I dislike the comparison to ironing shirts.  Whenever a numerical count is large it becomes difficult to make sense of it. Similarly driving to Sydney is not something I will ever contemplate.  Just give it in miles and something we can likely relate to such as number of times driving from London to Edinburgh., or hours spent driving at 70mph.

I'm not a fan of offsetting. So the sales pitch for “beyond“ is, well,  beyond me.  I hope you have seen this 

 

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Thanks for the feedback, @NoPoke 

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@John_Treehouse @Stephen Bell  @Steve587 @UC Bear @Scotty22@PeterR1947 @Simonfea @MajorSqueeze @Gum168 @JimTraynor @ITGeek123 @Fred Rick @Delboy 

I think you guys were involved in some testing with this previously - what do you think of the new version??

Userlevel 3
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Hi there,

I buy 100% renewable electricity from you on the assumption there was no associated carbon released.  Looking at the numbers you sent you have not incorporated this in your numbers.

 

Userlevel 5
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Hi there,

I buy 100% renewable electricity from you on the assumption there was no associated carbon released.  Looking at the numbers you sent you have not incorporated this in your numbers.

 

Me too, however I still consider that the electricity I consume has the CO2 load that is published on my monthly bills.  Actually if pushed I use a higher figure as the South East has a higher than national average CO2 per kWh.   https://carbonintensity.org.uk/

 

Hi Fred, You're right - the numbers here are placeholder to give you an idea of the concept and they show data that might be true for an OVO member on a non renewable plan. But don't worry, if you buy renewable electricity from us it's 100% renewable from sources like wind and solar. There's a tiny amount of unavoidable carbon emissions associated with renewable energy - like producing the solar panels - so we offset these for you too. Meaning 100% carbon-neutral.

Did you have any other thoughts about the features? anything you liked, disliked or thought could be improved? we’d love to know so that we can pull that feedback into our next round of development!

Userlevel 5
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Do you intend to use regional CO2/kWh figures or the UK average?

 

Will the graphs take account of E7 meters?

Or those with smart meters sending hourly readings?

Hi @NoPoke  the ‘UK average’ stat doesn’t currently factor in location but it’s certainly an aspect that we’ve thought about factoring in. We could add this as another input when users ‘refine’ their comparison. What do you think, there could also be better solutions?

Interesting second point too! The timeline of usage will initially be available to customers on Smart Meters that are submitting half hourly meter readings, to ensure the data is as accurate as possible.

What do you think of the information displayed in that unit and the option to toggle between Carbon and kWh with a fuel type breakdown?

 

Userlevel 6
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@SianiAnni, @joss, @Transparent a little while ago we introduce the very basic version of the carbon tracker here, well here it is, in it’s glory, check it out and let us know what you think!:relaxed:

Userlevel 7
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Yes, I will provide some feedback @Amy_OVO … but not until next week. I’m busy programming some Smart Meter demonstration hardware atm.

What’s the difference between this Topic and the other one over here?

Why has @Nancy_OVO provided two separate discussion/feedback routes?

Userlevel 6
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Good spot there, @Transparent, please take your time! I’ll check to see whats going on with the two threads!

Userlevel 5
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When I go here https://forum.ovoenergy.com/the-treehouse-43/our-new-carbon-tracker-7927  I get a banner

You are not authorized to access this page.

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Userlevel 5

We tested an early iteration of the Carbon Tracker last year with a group of forum users who volunteered to test it, @NoPoke, which is what you’re trying to access.

This time round the Product team wanted to follow this up with our 2019 volunteers, but also share the progress with the rest of the forum to get more feedback! :)

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There’s still no option to say you have solar, which surely helps considerably. Plus we have an EV, which makes our use look higher than average for a house like ours. However, with a fully renewable energy tariff and home solar and a smart charger (that hopefully helps us to optimise the Solar when charging), basing the carbon tracker on the current editable settings means it’s not really going to give us a particularly good indication. I’m not looking for absolute accuracy, but a better indication would be more helpful.

A few other questions would also help, such as air travel, ICE car use, would be very welcome. These could be optional, but would definitely help me to focus my efforts to reduce our carbon footprint in the right areas. It’s tricky with a daughter living in Australia, and grandchildren there, but it’d be good know some the impact of that travel on our overall footprint, even if it is only an estimate.

I know these things are available elsewhere, but a single one stop area that is customisable would be great. 

Hi @Gum168 it’s great to know that you’re doing so much to reduce your carbon footprint!

We’d love to provide more ways for you to track your energy usage, including measuring the impact of solar panels and smart charger technologies. A key challenge here is knowing from energy readings alone, why energy is being used as it is. Like you said, your electricity usage would seem high to us without more knowledge. I’ll talk to the team about how we might be able to solve some of these problems for you. Do you have a smart charging tariff through OVO? and do you know what you would specifically like to see in more detail?

I hear your point on tracking your total footprint across areas such as travel too! We’re working on this, so stay tuned for some new features on the horizon.

Also, you mentioned that ‘these things are available elsewhere’. Do you mind me asking which tools you currently use to track your carbon / energy use? and how you typically use them?

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@Aaron_OVO@Aaron_OVO I check here https://calculator.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx?tab=3 for an idea of flights carbon footprint. It's difficult with 3 of our adult children living overseas, Australia, Spain and Sweden but I do try to keep an eye on it and do pay for the carbon offset. Spain by train is reasonable if we wanted, but Stockholm, oh my, ridiculously difficult and long by train, multiple train changes across about 6 countries! As for Australia, hmm, maybe not 😂.

 

Re the smart charger. Yes. In fact we were your second trial installation. And we had asked for solar integration all along, which we now have. Love that it takes the sun into consideration. 

 

We're also pretty good at putting on things like the washing machine when the solar is strong. 

We now have 5 grandchildren and it feels even more urgent now to allow them to inherit a planet that is sustainable for human life. 

 

 

 

 

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Another thing I just thought of, I don't eat any meat, and only small amounts of dairy, although we do have some hens and we eat their eggs (they'll never make it to my table though , could never eat eat my Dotty, Alice and Winnie 😁). I'd say we are fully vegetarian and about 75% + vegan style diet. So if we are getting down to the nitty gritty, it would be nice to have a tick box for veggie or vegan. There's been a lot about the environmental impact of meat eating, so I'm guessing that would push the figures back again. 

Userlevel 5
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You could make the carbon tracker really complex but other than making some feel good what would it tell about our collective and individual energy consumption?

If buying carbon offsets was all that was needed to fix the climate crisis then the west could fix the problem for little cost.  There are plenty of businesses out there trying to convince us that this is the case, but really they are after our money. (That is just the way our economy is set up)

The strength of the carbon tracker focusing upon energy is that it highlights just how intensive space heating is.  The hard truth is that per capita  energy consumption has to be reduced not offset by buying carbon credits.

A complicated and complex message will be confused and misunderstood. The KISS principle applies (though not to Covid virus 😉 )

Userlevel 6
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That’s a good point, @Gum168. I think a lot of carbon tracking tools take into account diet and lifestyle too, so this is definitely something worth including. I’ll pass this on!

Userlevel 7
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Has anyone seen this feature live on their online account?

 

We’ve posted a topic to announce the go live of this feature, and we’d love to hear what you all think, having been involved in the development process!  

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