How Pure Planet Futures helps Members reach Net Zero

Friday, 28 May 20215 minute read
Pure Planet

Will shares the results of our latest trial, and explains how Pure Planet Futures is shaping the way we use smart technology.

Photo by Anaya Katlego on Unsplash

We’re dedicated to helping our Members reach Net Zero. And as part of that commitment, we launched Pure Planet Futures in the summer of 2020, to test out new technology that can help our Members in their everyday lives, and cut their carbon footprints too.

Most recently, 25 Members of the Community have been helping us to trial something called a ‘Consumer Access Device’, or CAD. In this blog, Will Heinzelman, our Head of New Products & Services, and face of Pure Planet Futures, explains exactly what a CAD is and how the trial’s changing the way we keep you informed about your energy usage.

What’s the CAD trial all about?

As you may already know, there’s some exciting changes coming to our app soon to make it easier than ever to understand how you use energy in your home and its impact. As part of our work towards this we wanted to understand how we can make the most out of the data we’re able to get from the Smart meters installed in our Members’ homes. We also wanted to know how our Members would like to receive this, and what information would make the biggest impact for them.

And that’s where the CAD trial comes in.

A Consumer Access Device, or CAD, is a device that plugs into the back of your Smart meter’s In-home display (or IHD). Once connected to Wi-Fi the CAD sends live energy consumption information to an app.

The CAD can help us to show you information about:

  • The appliances in your home that are using the most energy
  • The impact your actions might be having on the environment
  • Your energy usage, down to the second – Smart meters can only provide data at half-hourly intervals.

What’s the trial shown?

Our trialists have been providing lots of great feedback in the Community and answered some survey questions.

The trial proved that being able to see more detailed information on energy consumption in an app helps our Members feel more informed about how they’re powering their homes – there was a 19% increase in how informed people felt after using the app for three months.

It’s no surprise that 56% reported looking at their In-home display less, but interestingly 63% said they would continue using it alongside an app.

At Pure Planet, we think being more informed about how and when you’re using energy is the first step to making positive changes that help reduce your carbon footprint. It was great to see a third of our trialists making changes to the way they use energy at home as a result of the trial – one participant replaced some of their older appliances, while another lowered the temperature on their thermostat.

How will Pure Planet be using the results of the trial?

Smart meters already record data at half-hourly intervals, but with a CAD we can collect granular data more frequently – every few seconds. This trial has proven that there is an appetite among our Members to see more information on their energy usage and that this should be incorporated into our app.

One potential use for this data, and the one that our trialists told us they would most like to see in the Pure Planet app, is energy disaggregation. This is where energy consumption data is analysed to estimate the power the devices in your home are using. Disaggregation would allow you to see exactly how much your kettle, TV or fridge is costing you to run each month, and help you make more informed decisions on what to switch off or replace.

The insight from this trial has helped shape the roadmap for our app’s future development, as well as the new products and services we’ll look to offer in the future – and you’ll be hearing a lot more about that in the coming months!

How to get involved in Pure Planet Futures

Getting involved is easy. Simply sign up to our Community, if you haven’t already, and head to the Pure Planet Futures section. That’s where we post the details of upcoming trials and how you can sign up, as well as updates on things already in progress.

What we’d need from you depends on the nature of the trial. We might just need an hour of your time to complete a survey, or we may be looking to install a new piece of smart technology in your home (like a Smart thermostat) and keep in touch over a longer period of time.

Your feedback is invaluable – not only does it help us provide the very best service to our Members, but it also helps us take steps closer to Net Zero.

Thank you Pure Planet Futures trialists, past, present and future for your contribution!

And thank you for being part of Pure Planet.

Head of New Products and Services