Bulb Carbon Emissions Tracker

Good Morning Community,

When we investigated offsetting as part of our 100% carbon neutral gas project we started looking at carbon emissions in a lot more detail.

As part of investigating that we’ve built a really quick ‘pre-alpha’ prototype which we’d love to get your feedback on.

We’re trying to find the right balance between ‘easy to fill in’ and ‘accurate’.

We’re aiming for something that people can do quickly, on their phones, perhaps on the bus, just with information they already know. If we can do something that easy, but with, say, 80% accuracy we think that’ll be more useful than something that takes hours to fill in and gets to 90%.

The prototype below is deliberately scrappy. It doesn’t, for instance, look anything like a Bulb service. We wanted to be clear that nothing here is set in stone and we’re up for changing any bit of it. Please feedback on how it works, the words we’ve used, the questions we ask and how easy or hard it is to answer.


Let us know your thoughts!

It worked quite well for me. I’m glad to see I’m about 25% below target.

One thing I would like to see is a multi field commute bit. As I cycle around 60% of the time I averaged out what I do in the car to match.

Or better yet, for your commuting how many miles a week do you do on the following modes of transport.

Hi @FromTheValleys - thanks for the feedback!

I agree re: the multi field, lots of people drive to train stations for example, something I’m keen to get in for the next iteration!

Have you ever done a full carbon emissions tracker before? How did it compare for speed in relation to accuracy?

Here were my results - My parents living in America have tipped me over the UK average - got some lifestyle choices to make!

I’ve done a couple, the worst I encountered was the carbon trust. One of the questions it asked is how much a week do you spend on food. There was no indication as to how that money is spent.

It meant what I thought was a massively high secondary footprint.

The bulb one I found pretty accurate and better. It was in par with the WWF one I filled out. Both that and bulb said I was around 97% of allowance.

Ohh our carbon emissions are not too dissimilar, @FromTheValleys

@“Bill at Bulb” I’d like to see some visuals at the end. It’s great to comapare my usage against the UK/global average but to see this on a plot would make it come to life!

@“Eleanor at Bulb” @“Bill at Bulb”

An interesting idea.

What would be a wicked idea would be to make it public, if you highlight which energy supplier you use, I’d imagine you could get a good two dimensional plot of households of emissions, lower emissions overall by bulb members, I’m not sure what data I’d want to put on the x axis. You could do multiple cross plots and work out which activities you do saves the most money.

Matlab is the perfect tool for this of you store the data correctly.

We love the idea, @FromTheValleys - I’ve popped it on the Open Road Map.

Using it as a tool to help you reduce your emissions would be great. Even if your energy supplier is 100% renewable, cutting your energy usage helps saves money on your bills so it’s a win-win.

If you have any thoughts on how we can make this data useful - please let us know!

Well I found the most useful thing to do is this.

  1. Fill out the form to get how far away from target you are.

  2. Come up with actions someone can make on an individual level to get themselves below target. Maybe rank actions in order of magnitude or difficulty. I’m not asking anyone their dietary preferences but suggesting eating less meat to cut 10% off, going vegetarian etc. I have this year. Reducing their flights.

You could play with some algorithms to immediately suggest to someone with a car commute less than 7 miles have you thought about cycling to work. Or what about car pooling.

I think showing small changes people can make and feel good about it while making minimal impact to their lifestyle.

Alcohol consumption is a big thing missing from the tracker.

Should it be made clearer if this has to be completed by person OR per household as that could make a vast difference to the figures.

Found it easy enough to complete. The only part that took some maths was working out how much mileage I do per month minus my commute mileage. This feels unnecessarily complex. I think it could just be set up to ask how many miles you do per vehicle category. Then allowing the user to set whether they are referring to weeks or months per category would further reduce mental maths.

Thanks @Lewis_P - this is all great feedback.

Looks like our members have a lower than average carbon footprint for the UK.

Despite this, I’m going to see if I can reduce mine over the coming months. As a cyclist who is supplied by Bulb, I’ll need to think a little bit out the box!

Thanks @Lewis_P - this is all great feedback.

Looks like our members have a lower than average carbon footprint for the UK.

Despite this, I’m going to see if I can reduce mine over the coming months. As a cyclist who is supplied by Bulb, I’ll need to think a little bit out the box!

Have you done the diet one? I have this year.

One of the biggest footprints I’ve seen is food miles. I will try my absolute best to buy food produced either in the UK or western Europe. That way it doesn’t need to be flown in.

I’m a ‘meat occasionally’ person. Though this is something I could change.

Eating seasonally can really help cutting down food miles too. Which is great in May as it’s asparagus season!

8.23 apparently, but zero flights (ever), mostly veggie, and cycling most places does help.

I do own a diesel van (primarily for work), but I’m hoping that in the future my requirements will change and this will become unnecessary. I’d switch to a fully electric van in a heartbeat if they were available/affordable (despite the issues I would face charging at home - terraced street with no dedicated parking), but even then, buying vehicles new is a fool’s game and never the most environmentally friendly option.

but even then, buying vehicles new is a fool's game and never the most environmentally friendly option.

Interestingly there are cases where replacing an old ICE vehicle with a new small electric vehicle can have a net positive impact on the environment in just a few years, because the majority of the emissions for ICE vehicles comes from use not production. There’s some more info here if you’re interested;

@Lewis_P, for the small number of miles that a lot of people do in their vehicles in the UK I suspect that the 5 year figure discussed in that video could easily double.

My point was more that you’re better off buying used even if you’re looking to buy electric. Until the demand outstrips the supply of used cars this will continue to be the case.

If demand for used vehicles was higher then this would potentially also price some people out the market and force them to use other means of transportation. Now I’m all for people having choice and opportunity, but people need a push.

It’s an issue that modern cars are so reliable that almost anyone can afford to own and drive one. Very few people consider how easily they can walk or cycle from a house they’re considering living in as they just expect to always have a vehicle to use.
I look at modern housing developments and wouldn’t dream of living in most of them, however nice or environmentally friendly the houses are, as you just can’t get anywhere from them.

Hi gang!

Our new lead designer, @Nat_at_Bulb , has mocked up some illustrations into our app that we’d love to work to get added to the tracker in the near future.


We’d love to hear your feedback on it, let us know in the comments what you think.

@“Bill at Bulb”, I’d limit it to existing logged in app customers, then there’s no need to ask whether or not you’re with a renewable supplier.
It seemed a slightly superfluous question on the original version but even more so now.

A simplified version of carbon calculators I’ve used in the past, and the result (9.48 tonnes per year) similar to what I’ve got previously. Maybe include some info on how figures are worked out and why things like meat , say, contributes to CO2 emissions and advice on how to reduce your footprint.

As a little feedback, can we have multiple steps for the commute? For example, it’s about 25 miles between my home and office but I will drive to the train station (about 3.5 miles) then train for 21 miles and then a walk to the office itself. I also won’t be in the office every day of the week so would be good to have that taken into account.

I know this isn’t meant to be exact but just a passing thought!

Overall, not too bad a score though!