An integral part of the transition to a greener, cleaner lifestyle is to itemize carbon emissions at the consumer level. Understanding where the biggest emissions occur enables consumers to make informed decisions regarding their carbon footprint. And while it may seem like you’ll need to make enormous sacrifices in order to make a difference, it’s often small but informed shifts that make an impact.
Ashish Bagri of Rvolt spoke with us at the World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi on the topic of carbon emissions. “One-third of our carbon footprint comes from our households. That’s a fact that many people are not aware of. When people think about reducing carbon footprints they think about maybe taking a train instead of flying.”
A Brave New Grid
Eurostat estimates that each person in the EU emitted 7.2 tonnes of CO2 in 2017. But what does this number look like on a micro-scale? Several startups are trying to answer this question with the help of gamification. The advantage of visualising the details of one’s carbon footprint helps people understand the small changes they can make in their daily lives. After all, we all need to try and shift to a low-emission lifestyle if we want to make a difference.
Rvolt’s Ashish Bagri put this into perspective: “So the fundamental problem is the imbalance in supply and demand because of the rise of renewable energy. With old ways of producing electricity – with big power plants – these power plants were running according to the schedule of the people but with the rise in renewables, the renewable energy itself is not plannable so you can predict it but you cannot plan it. So there has to be a fundamental shift in how people consume energy. They should try to adjust their lifestyle a tiny bit with tiny steps to be able to use the energy more wisely coming from renewable energy.”
So how are startups trying to help individuals with this problem?
Rvolt & GreenApes: How Gamification Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
One company called GreenApes from Toscana, Italy has developed a game that allows consumers to earn points called Bankonuts throughout the day for engaging in behaviours that are considered low-carbon. Participants can also claim real prizes from partner companies. Additionally, GreenApes designs specialized solutions for cities and companies based on specific goals.
Another startup we alluded to earlier is Rvolt. Rvolt is an emerging platform that offers challenges to app users to visualize their impact. Each user has a small planet that they take care of by engaging in low-carbon activities. There’s also a rewards system through which users can earn points. The company is working in the Demand Response Market, which is projected to reach €32.6 Billion by 2025 globally.
Small Changes – Big Impact
Rvolt and GreenApes focus mostly on revealing your carbon footprint, but there are many other emissions that have adverse effects for our planet. Methane is one of the most devastating chemical compounds on Earth, which has a warming potential 23 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. The main point is focusing on what we can do at a consumer level to participate in the transition to a low-carbon society. “Shifting the washing machine use by half an hour could reduce your carbon footprint by half over the year,” stated Bagri. There’s a lot of work to do to reduce our carbon emissions in the EU – with 7.2 tonnes of CO2 per person in the EU, but gamification is giving people evidence and motivation that they can make a difference.