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When Should I Charge My Car?
Here’s a perfect place for design to solve a climate problem. Let’s say the area where you live uses a mix of renewable energy and fossil fuels for electricity, which is probably the case in 2023 (unless you’re in Uruguay). Wouldn’t it be nice to know when more renewable energy is being made so that you could, for example, do the laundry or charge the car at those times?
It turns out that Britain actually publishes that information in real-time! It’s called the Carbon Intensity API and they convey that information like this:
This is summarizing a lot of technical data which is great, but I’m not entirely clear how to read this. I think it’s telling me the carbon intensity is greener and therefore better on Tuesday and Wednesday, but I’m not sure.
In this prototype, you can click a region and see details on the right. I think the gauge with a needle that moves to the right to signal greater CO2 output is particularly effective. Although I personally would do a couple things differently:
The panel on the right helps me understand that lighter hues equate with more renewable energy. I would take a stronger point of view and use different hues (say, blue and red) to differentiate good energy from bad energy.
I would love if they named the baby, i.e. gave a simple name to the index. Should it still be called “carbon intensity” or something simpler? I think we need to be able to say things like, “Honey, why don’t we wait until tomorrow to do the laundry? The Cardox is going down to 20.”