We’ve been using Bulb’s Carbon Bot to try and lower our daily CO2 emissions. This is a Twitter Bot that interprets Carbon Intensity data to show the times of day when electricity use is the least CO2 intensive. This is when more wind, hydro and solar generators are powering the grid, meaning less carbon emissions are being generated.
Our team, who work on social media and the community page, have been encouraging each other to shift our usage patterns to these lower carbon emitting hours in the working day.
We’re a team of 14 and we kept a diary of which appliances we put on at the low carbon times, rather than other times in the day - for example washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and ovens. The best way to reduce our carbon footprint is to reduce usage so we only put things on that we needed to put on anyway.
As we are all working from home it was quite easy for us to pop things on, and it also gave us a chance to talk about being more conscious of our usage. None of us have smart technology timers so it was a manual process. If we were in the office we could have used timers on some of our appliances, although this would have needed more organisation!
To work out our carbon impact during this challenge, we:
- Created a spreadsheet to capture what time our appliances were on, how long for, and their power rating in watts.
- Used National Grid’s half-hourly data to work out the carbon intensity of electricity at any given time. This is measured in gCO2/kWh (grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour).
- Compared our usage to a ‘high’ carbon intensity measurement (284 gCO2/kWh) to work out our CO2 saving.
Between us, we accumulated 24 hours using the washing machine, 3 hours using the dishwasher, 1 hour of vacuum cleaning and 30 minutes using an electric oven.
We avoided 2,697.41 grams of CO2 by using appliances at low-carbon times over 5 days. That’s the same as 27 hours of watching Netflix, so around 54 episodes of Peep Show, or driving 9.3 miles in a petrol car.
This may seem like a small difference but:
If this was scaled up to Bulb’s UK employees, that would mean 186,313g of CO2 saved. Which is more like 1,863 hours of Netflix or driving 643 miles in a petrol car. That’s the distance from Cornwall to Inverness.
If this was scaled up to all of Bulb’s 1.7 million members, it would mean 327.5 tonnes of CO2 avoided. That’s the same as 3.3 million hours (377 years!) of Netflix or driving 1.1 million miles in a petrol car, which is around 45 laps of the world.
It also shows how encouraging each other and setting manageable tasks can make a difference. The main challenge we found was getting our housemates on board, as we all live in flat shares but it also gave us an opportunity to talk about energy consumption.
The Carbon Bot allows consumers and smart technologies to schedule their electricity usage and minimise everyday CO2 emissions.
What would encourage you to put on your appliances at low-carbon times of the day?