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'Fitbit' apps help businesses track carbon footprint

'Fitbit' apps help businesses track carbon footprint

'Fitbit' apps help businesses track carbon footprint

With a plethora of fitness apps on the market, a new technological concept between London-based designer Benjamin Hubert and The Carbon Trust has seen the launch of Worldbeing - a wearable 'fitbit' device that calculates the carbon consumption of its user based on their daily activities.

The device aims to help people and businesses gain a better understanding of how much carbon they are using through live tracking.

Users are required to wear a wristband and can manually enter emission consumption, such as what they ate for breakfast and details of their transport commutes, which is recorded in what the device calls 'Carbon Clouds'.

Each user is given a recommended, daily carbon reduction target, which causes the cloud to expand and turn red the closer they get to achieving it.

What's more, carbon reduction targets can be tailored to suit the user's activities and lifestyle. This works to encourage and implement new patterns of sustainable behaviour. Figures are calculated using the Trust's own carbon calculator.

Aleyn Smith-Gillespie, associate director of The Carbon Trust, said: "The Worldbeing concept is pioneering an innovative technological approach to make reducing your personal carbon footprint both engaging and social.

"This app has the potential to increase understanding and stimulate action by intuitively communicating and linking our daily activities and decisions to their impacts on the climate.”

Research conducted by Forbes revealed that more than 70 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds want to own and wear this type of technology. However, one criticism was having to manually enter information, which was deemed time-consuming.

Similar carbon-tracking apps have overcome this issue by incorporating a social aspect into the device, which involves users being able to compare and compete with each other. This element of healthy competition is a great motivator, encouraging people to keep the use of such devices high.

An example of where this has been run successfully comes from energy company Opower. Through a partnership with public utilities such as PG+E, customers are provided with personal insight and information on how their energy consumption compares against their neighbours living in similar-sized homes.

Customers can then share their performance rates online and challenge friends. The healthy competition app has proved to be successful, with energy consumption rates having reduced by $250 million (£165m) since 2008.

The use of eco-friendly multimedia dates back five years when researchers from the University of Dublin ran trials to track home and driving emissions of test subjects in 2010. It was found that over the six-week study period, energy consumption reduced by just under four per cent.

This suggested that using a carbon tracking device for an extended period of time could contribute significantly to reducing global carbon emissions.

While such devices are tailored towards carbon footprints, others are being used to help track different types of waste management. For example, Oasys is a device that is fitted to a wall in the home to wirelessly track water consumption over time. Users can set goals and compare their usage to other homes in the neighbourhood.

Posted by William Rodriguez

Image courtesy of iStock