14 Jun 2022

Empowering customers to unlock data value to measure emissions (Guest blog from Ideavate)

Guest blog from David Sheridan, CEO and Co-founder of Ideavate, on how data is helping reduce our dependency on oil, and other fossil fuels.

Data has long been referred to as the “new oil”, however, in our niche of the software market, data is helping reduce our dependency on oil, and other fossil fuels. Software solutions are now enabling companies to measure domestic CO2e emissions, which account for 40% of the UK’s total emissions according to the Climate Change Committee* and promote more environmentally sustainable practices in the homes of employees and customers. 

A founding principle of our small business, Ideavate, is to enable consumers to leverage their own data for their benefit: both for the intelligence it can generate and the more automated, less-hassle end user experience it can provide. 

We originally applied this idea to helping consumers save time and money on their household bills; through a popular app that automatically collected and analysed household utilities data. In 2020, a UK bank asked whether we could apply a sustainability lens to our data collection and analysis expertise.  

This in turn led to the creation of My Carbon Manager - an application that utilises open data to understand the CO2e emissions of UK homes and vehicles. This intelligence forms the basis of personalised information and recommendations on steps that can be taken to reduce domestic emissions, such as cavity wall insulation and solar PV installation, as well as quantifying the cost and return on investment (i.e. the time taken for the upfront costs to be covered by reduced energy bills). 

Data is sourced from the likes of The Ministry of Housing (to understand Energy Performance Certificate data), the DVLA (vehicular emissions and distance travelled) and Ofgem (sources of energy used in the home), with smart meter data likely to play an increasingly important role in understanding longer term habits. Adjacent to our space, Open Banking is also facilitating data-driven environmental insights, as individual and company transactions can be used to automatically compile a holistic view of carbon emissions. 

Rather than direct to consumers, we make My Carbon Manager available through partners who already have an established base of end user customers, employees or property portfolios. This is providing us with a clear picture of how this type of data can provide an important component of company ESG policy. 

Transitioning consumer customers to green mortgages and financing electric vehicles are both use cases where companies can reduce their own impact or positively influence the buying decisions of their customers. Housing retrofits, such as at the point of insurance repairs being carried out (something we’ve been trialling with Lloyds Banking Group), also provide an opportunity to assist consumers at a point of heighted relevance. This will become more and more pertinent as legislation changes to require increased energy efficiency standards in domestic and commercial properties. 

Our experience suggests that most workforces are currently unable to accurately measure and report on the environmental footprint of home working, or to help their employees make improvements. Taking advantage of existing data sources will help with the inevitable acceleration needed in company efforts to bridge the gap.

For more information on Ideavate, check out their website here.

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