Innovation That Matters

Using a cell phone to track carbon footprint


Calculating one’s carbon footprint can be a painstaking process that tests the commitment of even the most eco-minded consumer, requiring the regular input of data to achieve any kind of precise results. A new technology from UK startup Carbon Hero, however, aims to provide an effortless way for consumers to keep tabs on their environmental impact by simply carrying a GPS-enabled cell phone. Carbon Diem, a new software package that’s planned for launch next spring, runs on users’ GPS-enabled mobile phones to determine how they’re getting around at any given moment–on foot, by car, or on a bus, train or airplane. As an algorithm tracks the transportation mode used and distance covered, the software uses that information to keep an up-to-the-minute record of the user’s carbon emissions, displaying the results in both daily and weekly terms. That, in turn, can help consumers gain new awareness of their impact on the environment and–the ultimate goal–learn to opt for lower-emissions alternatives. Companies, meanwhile, can use Carbon Diem across the organization to track and manage their employees’ travel-related emissions. (Alleviating privacy concerns, the software cannot be used to record users’ actual routes–only their emissions, The Guardian reported.) In tests over the past year, Carbon Diem’s accuracy ranged from 100 percent when people are on planes or trains to between 65 and 75 percent when they travel by bus, company founder Andreas Zachariah told The Guardian. Carbon Hero participates in the European Space Agency Business Incubation initiative. Its software is already Nokia N-series compliant, and currently the company seeks funding to speed its development cycle for the Blackberry platform. One to get in on early….? (Related: Visualising energy use.) Spotted by: Guardian via Maria Dahl Jørgensen



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