Timing IoT Devices to Slash Carbon Emissions at Scale


What's the carbon footprint of an electric vehicle, battery, air conditioner, or water heater? It depends on *when* it uses energy. In most locations, the carbon footprint of using electricity changes every 5 minutes.

WattTime is a tech nonprofit that helps smart thermostats, electric vehicles, and batteries automatically time their dispatch to these cleaner times, slashing emissions.

We do it in three steps. First, we use computer vision algorithms to continuously analyze the latest satellite images of power plants to infer their emissions. Second, we use causal inference to calculate the counterfactual emissions if many devices consumed electricity at other times instead. Third, we use ML to forecast these fluctuations, and serve up those data in an API that helps 10 million devices automatically reduce emissions every 5 minutes.


While a PhD student in energy econometrics at UC Berkeley, Gavin McCormick invented “Automated Emissions Reduction”: software that instantly reduces pollution from smart devices such as electric vehicles and smart thermostats. Today he is Executive Director of WattTime, a nonprofit that helps Fortune 500 companies and governments use this technology to lower their carbon footprint at scale. He is also a cofounder of Climate TRACE: a coalition of nonprofits, tech companies, and universities using satellites and AI to monitor every source of greenhouse gas emissions source on Earth.

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