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Building Carbon Bot

Sometimes there's more or less renewable energy on the grid. Bulb Labs built a bot to help you put the dishwasher on at a greener time. Meet the team experimenting with new technologies in energy.

It’s never been a more exciting time for clean energy. Electric vehicles are becoming mainstream, houses are getting smarter, and technologies like rooftop solar and household batteries keep dropping in price. These changes are helping to create new opportunities for our members to save money on their energy bills or reduce their carbon emissions.

I joined Bulb to set up Bulb Labs, a new team who'll be experimenting with these emerging technologies to work out how we can build the energy company of the future. In this post, hear about our plans and get to know our first experiment - Carbon Bot.

Working with members to shape the future of energy

New technologies or behaviours in energy, like driving an electric vehicle or having smart technology at home, might become mainstream over the next 2-3 years. This is exciting. But it could also be confusing and disempowering for some. Our goal at Bulb Labs is to understand how to build new products and services that make this exciting new world approachable and engaging for everyone.

We’re doing this by working hands-on with our members (and others), running experiments and beta tests to learn from them about what works and what doesn’t. We’ll publish as much of our research in the open on our Bulb Labs site. We’ll include links to working prototypes wherever we can.

Our first experiment - Carbon Bot

Our first experiment is Carbon Bot, a Twitter bot and Alexa skill that provides actionable information about the greenest times to use energy.

The amount of renewable energy on the grid changes minute by minute, depending on things like the weather. As it changes, so does the amount of CO2 emitted by everyone’s electricity use - this is called the carbon intensity. All Bulb customers are buying 100% renewable electricity, but making greener decisions about when to use electricity at home can help the grid as a whole and support the UK’s transition to 100% renewable energy for everyone. We built Carbon Bot to help.

You can follow the Twitter bot at @bulbcarbonbot or read more about how Carbon bot works and our findings so far on the Bulb Labs site. We’re waiting for the Alexa skill to be approved – we’ll update here when it’s ready to go.

Take part in Bulb Labs experiments

We’ll be doing more experiments to work out how we might use technology to help us achieve our mission for members. We’ll be testing new ways to reduce bills or save on carbon emissions. And we’d love you to take part in future experiments. You can sign up on the Bulb Labs site.

What do you think of Carbon Bot? We’d love to know. Stop by the Community or tweet us your thoughts.