The inspiration for this project is how rapidly our environment health is deteriorating. This inspired us to make an impactful product that will effectively and efficiently incentivize members of society to decrease their own energy consumption.
What it does
This project uses blockchain on the backend to reward users for lowering their energy consumption. Essentially the product is like a stock for your own energy consumption. If you believe you can decrease your monthly electricity usage, you can invest any amount you would like. At the end of the month, depending on how much you increased or decreased your energy consumption, you will lose or make a certain amount of money on your investment according to our algorithm. Initially, if a user invests funds into his Enervest wallet account and their energy consumption decreases by 20%, then at the end of the month, the user will have 120 coins. The user can cash out whenever he would like.
To initially obtain accurate energy information from a user, we will obtain a user ID and a permission slip from the user to access records from PG&E. Once this information has been verified the rest will be automated through the smart contract. Initially putting a new user into the system will require human verification to prevent fraud. This function is the only function we did not implement as we do not have time or the product to consult with PG&E (although other companies have received permission before and it is feasible to do so).
How it works
We used Solidity (blockchain) and React to build our product. Integrating blockchain into our idea ensures for a more secure and efficient process. There are no chances of human-prone mistakes, as everything will be automated using our smart contract. It works when the user initially deposits funds into his Enervest wallet account. When they would like to invest in their own energy consumption, the funds are taken out from their account and added to the company's account. At the end of the month the smart contract calculates the return on investment they should get (whether or not they increased or decreased their energy consumption), and returns the proper amount to their account.
The reason why blockchain is beneficial to this product is because it allows payments to be completely automated, with no room at all for human error. The smart contract is a self executing contract, so no third parties are required to carry out legal processes surrounding payments. Also, all payment records and energy data is stored on the blockchain, with only one immutable copy for all participants to see. Thus there is much transparency in our product's payments, and consumers who use our app can be sure that their money is not disappearing. All payment records are stored permanently, with only one unchangeable copy existing. By automating human error prone payment processes and making sure that all payment records are stored in this way, there is more security and transparency in our process.
Challenges we ran into
We struggled with the integration between MERN and solidity blockchain. We also struggled with fully setting up the web application as we would like due to the time constraint. We would like to make the UI and layout more visually appealing.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of what we learned and and proud of the idea itself. This idea, if implemented fully, can actually incentivize users around the world to try to improve their energy consumption. We are also proud of establishing the fundamentals of this project; we set up the smart contract and most of the frontend.
What we learned
What goes into improving energy consumption and the benefits of using smart contracts for this process.
What's next for Enervest
Adding more functionality for the dashboard and implementing this project on a larger scale.