With the world of technology expanding at an exponential rate, a certain toll is being taken on our earth. We wanted to unite technology and environment by bringing awareness to each individual's impact and contribution to climate change. Many people feel climate change can only be solved by legislation, however with small adjustments to our own daily lives, like eating less meat or taking public transportation, we can create large change.
What it does
The environmental bank (or E-bank) for short keeps track of your literal and monetary balance with earth. Every carbon footprint can be measured in a cost it would take to offset that footprint. There are many calculators that exist online that can profile how much your emissions are contributing to climate change. These calculators however are often overbearing and too detailed for people to take the time to fill out. We've simplified the interface by only showing a few common emission categories: travel (car, bus, plane), energy (washing machines, light), and food (meat and non-meat meals).
We hope users enter their approximate usage in these different categories on a daily basis so they can see how their E-balance adds up. They also have the option of offsetting their emissions (either that week's or their total) by donating to a nonprofit that will support renewable energy sources. This, in the long term, will help renewable energy sources grow and become more affordable/accessible to people.
The nice part about e-balance is that the total is never going to be overwhelming. We estimated (using free carbon calculators online) that a family of four would cost less than 3 dollars per week to offset (this was only including our three categories travel, energy, and food).
A feature we would like to add to our app is a "Friends and Accomplishments" page where users can track their statistics (like which category they use the most emissions in) and accumulate points to level up. One of the ways users will be able to earn points is by keeping a "streak" with the app (logging daily in any category). With the ability to connect with friends on the app, users will feel more enticed to level up and also introduce their friends to the app.
How we built it
We built this app on Xcode using Swift. This was our first time programming an app and programming in swift. It was a very new experience and it took a while to find our feet on the platform.
Challenges we ran into
Working in a new language is always a challenge. When we ran into bugs, it took much longer to debug. Additionally, there were many features we wish we could have added (like a scrollable "picker" to choose between Diesel or Petrol to make different category costs more personalized) but we did not have time to learn and debug those more complicated features.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're pretty proud to just have created an app since it was our first time. It was very cool working in a new environment with a new language.
What we learned
How to use the basic features of Xcode and Swift. How to make a basic app.
What's next for Environmental Bank (E-Bank)
First the friends and accomplishments page where we can track their statistics. Second to add more categories and more subcategories (like what I mentioned above about fuel type for cars). Additionally, do more research on the actual calculation of the carbon balance. Right now the numbers we are using are quite crude (just the first values we found online), so we would like to do more research to make sure we are accurate with our calculations.