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Your Energy Identity and Why You Should Care

City Tech, Developing Markets, Health
Location: Empire Room Level: Novice
Average rating: ***..
(3.43, 7 ratings)

Your sustainability credentials are already under scrutiny—how can you both protect and extract value from this new data? At AMEE, we are on a long journey to measure the energy consumption of everything on Earth, and to make that data accessible.

Unpacking it touches on everything from economics to international security, from lifestyle choices to business profitability. Kilograms of CO2 as a currency is only the beginning.

The world is moving towards global regulation of carbon: a new market in the non-emissions of pollutants already exists in Europe and parts of the USA. It will soon be introduced across the whole of the USA and in numerous other countries.

This regulatory imperative will impact governments, companies, and individuals—directly in the form of new restrictions, and indirectly via price signals as the cost of carbon is integrated into the economy.

The management of this market relies on accurate measurement. Emissions from exhausts and chimneys can be measured relatively easily, but to find solutions a finer understanding of the behaviors and choices that cause these emissions will be needed.

As smart meters roll out across homes and businesses, a new energy grid is evolving. Your personal and business consumption habits are being tracked in increasing detail—from GPS data that infers your mode of transport, to electronic payments that track spending habits. In some countries, energy rationing is being discussed.

Shouldn’t we be treating this information as carefully as the rest of our digital identity? Properly data-mined, it may reveal more about our lives than any social network or Google history can ever do.

What happens to our personal ability to affect change once emissions are capped upstream? Verifiable information that validates actions should enable individuals to participate in the cap and trade markets. Not to do so removes any incentive to take personal responsibility for the problem.

With stakes this high, what pressure do we need to bring to bear on suppliers and retailers who are fiercly protective of their data-mining potential, and governments to both open and protect a vital part of our sustainable future.

As the Web breaks into the physical domain, catalyzed by innovation to address and reduce consumption, what future Web should we be watching out for and where are its pitfalls?

Photo of Gavin Starks

Gavin Starks

Open Data Institute

With a unique background in business, technology, science and media, Gavin has broad and deep knowledge of how data can change the world.

He began developing internet-based research tools in 1993, and joined Branson’s award-winning Virgin Net (now Virgin Media) in 1995 as its 5th team member. In 2006 he created AMEE, raising over $10m from world-class venture investors including O’Reilly, USV, and Amadeus (AMEE organises the world’s environmental data, standards, and calculations into a simple web-service). In 2011 he joined the UK Government’s “Energy Sector Board” as part of their Midata open-data initiative.

Having helped to kick-start the streaming media industry in Europe in the late 90’s, he created an award-winning media-technology service, Tornado, and sold it to a larger media group in 2003. He then helped create the digital supply-chain as founding CEO of world-leading digital distributor, CI: the first company to deliver digital products to iTunes, and delivered Amazon US ~25% of its download store.

At the UK’s Jodrell Bank Radio Observatory he worked on systems designed to map and interpret the universe. He created courses and lectured in Engineering and Music at Glasgow University, and has degrees in Astronomy (B.Sc.), and Electronic Music (M.Mus.). He has also co-created a co-operative harbour on the Thames where he now lives, as a musician has released his own album, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

You can follow Gavin @agentGav.

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Picture of Gavin Starks
Gavin Starks
03/11/2009 3:22am PDT

Alasdair – thank you for that.

Larry – the purpose of my talk wasn’t to do a sales-pitch about AMEE but to talk about broader emerging issues which I think need to be opened out.

You can find out more about AMEE on our website –

Picture of Alasdair Allan
Alasdair Allan
03/10/2009 5:16am PDT

I was live blogging this one

Larry Kooper
03/10/2009 4:44am PDT

The presentation was vague and unsatisfying. Mr Starks assumed that the audience already knew what AMEE is. He should have started off with an introduction that communicated what AMEE is and its business model.

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