Helping students to champion the fight against climate change
Helping students to save energy and be rewarded for doing so - partnering with Amber Energy to create The Student Energy Project.
Amber Energy has a simple mission: to fix utilities, save the planet and make people happy. The team approached Big Lemon to join forces and work on a project that sought to collect data on student energy consumption and reward users for making an effort to improve their personal C02 footprint.
We’re loud and incredibly proud of our mission - to build digital products that leave the world in a better place. So of course this project seemed to fit perfectly with our ethos of tech with purpose.
Let’s set the scene...
Climate change is a much talked about subject, and rightly so. Young people in particular are valuable contributors to climate action, however, one demographic that has historically been less efficient at managing their impact, are students.
“The average student uses roughly £500 worth of energy and water a year, which is more than the average homeowner,” said Owen, Co-founder of Big Lemon. “When you consider they are only likely to be living in student accommodation for eight months of that year, you realise, that’s a lot.
“We know that students disproportionately use a lot of energy, but what isn’t really known is why. We just don’t have the data. Developing an app to collect this information is a big challenge, largely because of the sheer amount of data points to collect from.”
The project looks at ways to collect habitual data from students, to learn where they are using the most energy, and then provide feedback.
And, as consumption is reduced, the end user will earn points that can be exchanged in a give-back programme: supporting good causes like planting trees and powering green energy projects in Africa.
This involved creating an algorithm which would collect raw data from student block energy and water meters, which is then normalised against degree days and weather factors, cross referenced with historical and occupancy data, and then stored in a MongoDB database.
The Tech Bit
Future-proofing the backend process to handle a large amount of data
Developed a native app for the project
Built the API and back end to transfer all data
Created a web application for TSEP admins to manage core data
The Student Energy Project was launched and rolled out to university students. In the 10 months after launch, the app processed and normalized 160,000 points of consumption data through an algorithm helping almost 2,000 students save energy and claim rewards.
Why Big Lemon?
“Big Lemon were the ideal tech partners for a project like this. We wanted to work with a business that understands the importance of tech for good and who would share our values. The expertise, ability to dig deep into the numbers, and enthusiasm has helped to fuel the success of the TSEP project.”