WattzOn @ ETech 2009


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It is clear that the lifestyles of the western world have become unsustainable. Fossil fuel scarcity and global climate change are threatening to cause great economic and environmental damage to the world. Individuals have been looking for ways to understand their contribution to the global and local energy stages, and make better decisions to reduce their impact. WattzOn.com is providing users with an online tool to calculate, track, compare, understand, and budget their personal energy consumption – much in the same way they would manage their finances.

In doing this, WattzOn also strives to innovate on the tools currently available for personal energy tracking. The status quo on personal impact tools involves online “carbon calculators,” which are already ubiquitous on the Internet. However, these calculators suffer from fundamental flaws that prevent them from becoming an effective tool for change. First, they are static and therefore do not react to improvements in knowledge or allow the addition of data. They are also “black box” in operation and do not clearly show a user how their energy numbers were calculated and what assumptions were made. Finally, they have a singular focus on carbon emissions, which doesn’t fully characterize power usage independent of fossil fuels. WattzOn changes this by providing the entire community with a collaborative environment to understand and manipulate how the numbers are calculated, while also shifting to a more comprehensive paradigm by tracking total power usage in watts.

The WattzOn back-end is powered by a pretty unique database nicknamed “holmz” – holmz is a structured wiki-engine that allows people to not only manipulate and share text, but also lets people collectively edit structured data and workflows. With holmz, WattzOn users can debate how much energy goes into, say, growing an apple; separately debate how much energy is needed to transport the apple to a local grocery store; and then have another set of people combine those two together into one result: the energy cost of an apple. Finally, that data propagates through the system, updating the total watts calculated for people with profiles indicating that they eat apples. The crowds can collaborate on getting all the individual parts of the equation correct so that everybody many benefit.

WattzOn is currently a global tool with assumptions made on a national/statewide scale. However, the ultimate goal of the system is to be able to accurately understand the exact power needs of a user’s lifestyle. Given differences in distances from product sources, weather, population density, and transportation options, the impact of any decision will be dependent on the location of the individual. By allowing users to populate the database with information from their own lives (either manually or passively by linking to online bills), the accuracy of the calculations will improve. Once this detailed database exists, anyone will be able to run specialized queries and create clear graphics to illustrate power usage of various communities and groups.

By giving individuals a tool to clearly visualize how they are “spending” energy, we hope that they will take measures to lessen their impact on the world, ultimately spurring widespread energy reduction in our society.

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WattzOn @ ETech 2009

  1. O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference 2009
  2. Raffi Krikorian raffi@synthesisstudios.com http://www.wattzon.com @raffi / @wattzon
  3. A couple of stories WattzOn @ ETech 12 March 2009
  4. 2 500MW Coal plants per day for 41 years (1 plant every 14 hours) 11 100MW Solar plants per day for 41 years (1 plant every 2 hours) 480 3MW Wind farms per day for 41 years (1 farm every 3 minutes) 3 100MW Geothermal turbines per day for 41 years (1 turbine every 11 hours) A 3GW Nuclear plant every 5 days for 41 years
  5. What does this mean for a person? WattzOn @ ETech 12 March 2009
  6. How does a person understand his/her role in climate change? WattzOn @ ETech 12 March 2009
  7. How do you empower a single person? WattzOn @ ETech 12 March 2009
  8. Personal Energy Audit See how aspects of a user’s “lifestyle” inter-relate and add up
  9. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure” WattzOn @ ETech 12 March 2009
  10. You can’t manage what you can’t agree on how to measure WattzOn @ ETech 12 March 2009
  11. Everything needs to be comparable =? =? WattzOn @ ETech 12 March 2009
  12. Personal energy analytics WattzOn @ ETech 12 March 2009
  13. 2008 CSV file 2007 Excel file 2006 CSV file (different columns!) 2001 Blue??!?
  14. Share WattzOn @ ETech 12 March 2009
  15. What about the stuff we buy? WattzOn @ ETech 12 March 2009
  16. 188 x 106 Valentine’s Day cards sent 110 x 106 roses purchased 8 x 109 Necco hearts eaten 35 x 106 boxes of chocolate sold $650 x 106 spent on gifts
  17. Teddy bear
  18. Oil
  19. Gold and diamond earrings
  20. Diamonds Gold
  21. Do we think people care? WattzOn @ ETech 12 March 2009
  22. Creating an open database WattzOn @ ETech 12 March 2009
  23. AIRLINE PASSENGER-MILES / GALLON Jet Blue 57.55 Continental 55.28 US Air 53.04 United 50.44 Delta 49.23 American 48.91 Southwest 48.64 Derived from mainline operations according to the 10-K SEC filings of 2008 WattzOn @ ETech 12 March 2009
  24. Integrated Wesabe & WattzOn financial/energy dashboard
  25. Don’t forget to turn the lights off on the way out WattzOn @ ETech 12 March 2009
  26. Raffi Krikorian raffi@synthesisstudios.com http://www.wattzon.com @raffi / @wattzon