Inspiration

Our team's mission is to build tools that help everyone act against climate change.

While it's common knowledge that climate change is an urgent problem that we need to address immediately, we sought a solution that puts the problem at the forefront - starting with the habits that almost everyone participates in, online shopping. We designed Neutral to make it easy to figure out how much greenhouse gas you're emitting with every purchase you make. It's difficult to put the impact of every online purchase into perspective. With Neutral, we hope to put these insights at the front-of-mind for the user so they can make more informed, considerate decisions about their purchases and the ultimate impact they have on the Earth.

While it's difficult in a first world country to live 100% carbon neutral, we built Neutral to allow users to easily calculate their carbon footprint, and take immediate action to offset it by donating to our line-up of trusted NGOs dedicated to our mission of tackling the climate change crisis.

What it does

Neutral is a web application that empowers users to understand their carbon footprint, learn how to reduce their emissions, and ultimately, offset the emissions produced by each and every one of their purchases made online.

Using the ISO 14064-3 carbon reporting standard, Neutral comprehensively reports the direct and indirect carbon emissions of a user's online purchases, based on the product type and price. Neutral's user-friendly data dashboard visualizes the historical carbon emission data, delivering the insights in metrics digestible and relevant to the average user. The integration and effectiveness of the Neutral dashboard is designed to allow users to easily understand their carbon footprint and drive immediate action to offset their footprint.

How We built it

We built a Chrome Extension and data dashboard web application. We set up a MySQL database containing Carbon Emission data on various product and category types. We utilized Google Cloud's NLP API to categorize purchase items based on their description features and calculate the total carbon dioxide emitted directly and indirectly from the purchase.

Challenges I ran into

Our main challenge was determining how to calculate the carbon emissions of a given good sold online. With no APIs readily available on carbon emission data, one of the few options we had was to scrape an unsupported site for carbon emission metrics.

We also ran into difficulties with designing the layout of the data visualization dashboard. The ultimate mission of our project was to build a dashboard that allowed users to easily understand their carbon footprint. And so, the data we summarized and visualized was designed with the goal of making the typical carbon footprint metrics more digestible and relevant to the average user.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

What we learned

What's next for Neutral

We implemented some simplifications in order to be able to deliver a working project in time. Moving forward, we'd like to support Neutral on all e-commerce sites and product types.

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