07 March 2023 / Last updated: 07 Mar 2023

How Carbon Co-op is reducing home carbon emissions with balena

Did you know that as a charity you can get a 20% discount on your balenaCloud subscription? We think that cutting-edge technologies should be affordable and accessible and love knowing that we are enabling our customers to have a positive impact on the world around them.
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We recently sat down with Sam from Carbon Co-op, a UK based energy services and advocacy co-operative that helps people and communities to make the radical reductions in home carbon emissions which are necessary to avoid runaway climate change. Sam is a software engineer working on the energy systems team evaluating grid flexibility and energy efficiency problems. They currently have 8 applications running on a fleet of Raspberry Pi 3B+’s running on balena which control devices such as EV chargers and immersion headers across Europe.
Their project is called PowerShaper, the PowerShaper service pays members for helping to run the electricity grid by turning their electrical appliances on / off automatically. It consists of two parts: PowerShaper Flex which controls smart devices in users’ homes and PowerShaper Monitor which gives users access to their smart meter data.
How does this work? PowerShaper Flex responds to grid operator requests to homes and small businesses to contribute to grid operations by responding to requests to turn on/off appliances,such as electric vehicle chargers, heat pumps, immersion water heaters, battery storage, at specific times in specific locations, easing the load on the national grid. PowerShaper Monitor is Carbon Co-op’s own smart meter platform which integrates with most smart meters, that allows users monitor and optimize their home’s energy use and carbon impact using the data from anywhere you can reach the internet.
Sam said, ‘Balena provides a simple deployment process and an intuitive dashboard for each device where we can check the device status. Issues with the Pi’s are common and we often spend time debugging in the balena interface, checking logs and SSHing in devices’
Balena has been essential to Carbon Co-op for being able to remotely manage their devices, keep them online and minimize costs and time spent debugging. Sam spoke about one of their users who was unable to access their device at all; ‘One of our users was unable to access their device at all. I checked the logs in the balena dashboard and could see that one of their services was failing. It mentioned a configuration file that, after SSHing into the service on the balena terminal, I could see was empty. I added the correct configuration settings into the
file and then the user could access their device once again.’
The Carbon Co-op is looking forward to growing their fleet on balena, and we hope that readers might be inspired to reach out, join in with the PowerShaper movement and make some money whilst doing something good for the planet!
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by Lizzie EptonMarketing Manager at balena

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