MenuMenu
Enigma Interactive Logo

    Carbon Tracer Mobile App and Website

    • Designed to provide the next generation of local energy tracking and increase customer engagement.
    • Mobile app and companion website to allow Western Power Distribution’s customers to track their carbon intensity.
    • App for both Android and iOS platforms developed using the Ionic hybrid development framework.

    “Enigma have brought their experience with app production to bear on the project, with a clear understanding of our requirements. They have been full of ideas and are always ready to take on the challenge of a new implementation”

    Lian White, Communications Manager, Western Power Distribution.

    The Ambition

    Western Power Distribution (WPD) delivers electricity to over 7.8 million customers via a network of 220,000 km of cables and 185,000 substations. One of their key objectives is engaging with their customers in meaningful ways and recent research has shown that customers are increasingly interested in where their energy comes from and the carbon dioxide that is produced in generating it.

    Working with Carbon Trust as part of their Carbon Tracing Project WPD wanted to let interested customers view the composition and carbon intensity of their electricity supply. As well as informing customers, the idea is that better understanding of this important subject could lead to adjusted behaviours and more conscientious use of energy.

    Pollution image

    What We Did

    Working in partnership with WPD and the Carbon Trust we designed and developed a mobile app and companion website to show customers live data about their electricity supply and its generation source. The app, available on Android and iOS, provides consumers with real time data visualisations of their local energy generation mix and the amount of CO2 produced as a result, also known as its ‘carbon intensity’.

    Carbon Tracer image

    Using the app customers can see how their energy is being generated, taking into account how much energy is coming from nearby solar panels and wind turbines in current weather conditions - for example you can see solar power kick-in on sunnier days and increase during the summer months. In addition to renewables, the app also reveals what proportion of electricity is being provided through nuclear energy, fossil fuels, or other energy sources.

    The Carbon Tracer website allows customers to find out even more detail about the energy mix and carbon intensity across the network. They can view data visualised as a heatmap covering the whole of Western Power Distribution’s network area or via a postcode search from there they can drill down to find out information on their nearest Substation supply point, number of connected primaries, what percentage of locally generated energy comes from renewable sources in perfect conditions and what time of day their local solar noon is.

    Mobile in hand image

    Rapid Prototyping

    Working with a wide team of stakeholders including Western Powergrid’s senior management team and partners the Carbon Trust required rapid ideation and prototyping to test our thinking around what information to show and how best represent it. Prototyping and testing concepts at an early stage, especially for a new project with a wide range of stakeholders and potential audiences, is often an important part of the work that we do with our clients.

    For this project rapid prototyping and the use of click dummies were key to understanding what data the business was able to provide as well was what customers wanted to be able to see.

    Rapid prototyping image

    Hybrid App Development

    For this particular project we chose to use the Ionic framework to develop the app. Ionic is an open source SDK for hybrid app development that allows us to develop Android and iOS mobile apps quickly and easily.

    Hybrid app development image

    Built on Angular, the Ionic framework allows us to use web technologies like CSS, HTML5, and Sass and also gives access to native mobile device functionality such as geolocation and background location services. For example, this project uses geolocation to ascertain where a customer is within WPD’s network area covering the East and West Midlands, South Wales and the South West. There’s a fall back option so that users can do a postcode lookup too.

    Using a hybrid framework rather than native mobile app development was the right choice for this particular project as it allowed us to create relatively simple (and similar) cross platform apps without the overhead of making them twice. This meant more project time could be focused on the overall user experience and data visualisation.

    Data Visualisation

    One of the most important elements of this project was to make sure that the information is presented in an approachable and usable way for a wide range of different user groups. With previous experience of data visualisation from a number of other projects we used a number of techniques to represent and express potentially quite dry data in the most appropriate way.

    In the app, colour coded stacked bar charts show how the user’s energy mix is made up with extra detail available by touching the bars to reveal further information. Charts are available to show a seven day history view that also shows how green the energy mix has been each hour. Tapping “Today” shows what the energy mix is right now along with information including a donut chart of the breakdown between renewables, fossil fuels, nuclear and other energy sources.

    Data visualisation image

    The Carbon Tracer website allows customers to find out even more detail about the energy mix and carbon intensity across the network. They can view data visualised as a heatmap covering the whole of Western Power Distribution’s network area or via a postcode search from there they can drill down to find out information on their nearest Substation supply point, number of connected primaries, what percentage of locally generated energy comes from renewable sources in perfect conditions and what time of day their local solar noon is.

    Customer Engagement

    This strand of our work with Western Power distribution is about helping them to engage with consumers in new ways and helping them understand the impact that their energy choices make on the environment. To help customers engage with the app there are some intro screens (which can be skipped) and an FAQ section. There is even a ‘rewards’ feature that allows users to track their actions on energy usage, giving points towards their personal energy efficiency rating if they make smart energy choices.

    View live project
    Well Done Mobile screen

    Start a Project

    Would you like to do a project like this with us?

    Newcastle

    +44 (0) 191 261 2991

    newcastle@enigma-interactive.co.uk

    London

    +44 (0) 20 7183 5738

    london@enigma-interactive.co.uk