The Zerofy blog

Tips and tools for a zero carbon lifestyle.

Latest articles

Image Description

12 Ways to Reduce Your Household Carbon Footprint

You may have heard the term carbon footprint used before to describe the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from the consumption of fossil fuels by an individual. So, what about the household carbon footprint? This is the CO2 emissions produced by everyone living in a single household, and importantly, it encompasses shared resources that can often be left out by the individual carbon footprint calculation.

Image Description

Zerofy’s favourite climate newsletters for staying informed

In the midst of the climate challenge, one thing that gives us great optimism is that there are so many intelligent and committed people working on solutions and providing resources on what we can do. Sharing of insights, innovations, news, and recommendations for individual climate action are all important for tackling the defining challenge of our time.

Image Description

Driving Electric Vehicles in Winter: Fact vs Fiction

Are you considering purchasing an EV, but unsure if your cold winters make it a practical choice? It is a valid question to ask, especially if you are unfamiliar with EVs and know the effect cold weather can have on electronics that operate on batteries. Zerofy has highlighted some of the main considerations, plus misconceptions, about driving an EV in winter so you can make the best decision based on your climate.

Image Description

New Smart WiFi Plug Integration with Shelly & myStrom

We have just released a new feature in the Zerofy app that allows users to connect their Shelly and myStrom Smart WiFi plugs. This means that users can measure energy usage and associated carbon dioxide emissions for their various household devices via these plugs. By connecting these Smart WiFi plugs, you will have real-time and automated insights into how much electricity your household devices are using, and the effect this is having on your overall household carbon footprint.

Image Description

Efficiency for the Win: Tesla's Model Y is our EV of the Month

We’ve already covered some pioneering EVs in Zerofy’s EV of the Month series, including the Nissan Leaf and the BMW i3. But the elephant in the room when it comes to market-defining EVs are of course Tesla’s Model S, Model 3, and the Tesla Model Y, our pick for EV of the month in October. While you may think this is not the most creative choice, hear us out: there are good reasons why the Model Y has been such a sustained and dominant choice.

Image Description

What is COP27? Key issues, what to expect, and why it matters

What is COP27? The acronym COP stands for Conference of the Parties. COP is where major decisions are made by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Once a year, signatory governments gather to discuss and negotiate how they are going to work together to combat climate change. Each UN member state is a signatory, plus Palestine, the Cook Islands, and Niue. This year will be the 27th time signatories have gathered for this conference, hence the moniker COP27.

Image Description

Heat pumps 101: How they work and emissions reductions capabilities

The heating of homes makes up a high share of energy use in countries that have variable and cold climates. In the European Union in 2020, home heating was the main use of energy by households at 62.8% of final energy consumption in the residential sector [1]. Additionally, 15% was used for water heating. At the same time, oil and gas are still the main fuels burned by most local boilers [2].

Image Description

What is a smart plug? How they save energy & reduce emissions.

A smart plug is a device that fits in between the power socket in your wall and an appliance. They are similar in appearance to power adapters you may have used when traveling. The reason they get the ‘smart’ moniker is because these plugs allow you to control the appliance they’re plugged into remotely, enabling them to function in more environmentally efficient and useful ways.

Image Description

Always know when your electricity is greenest: new Zerofy app feature

In the transition to a zero carbon lifestyle, we’re all trying to make the smartest decisions possible. Access to accurate information and data is a key part of determining how and when we use energy. We’re excited to announce a new feature in the Zerofy app that empowers you to easily see when electricity is greenest, so you can determine the best time for higher energy household activities.

Image Description

Backup power for grid outages! The Ford F150 Lightning is our EV of the month for September 2022

There are two reasons we chose this month’s EV of the month. First, with the energy crisis in Europe unfolding, grid stability is on everyone’s mind. Here, EVs with backup power functionality (V2G, vehicle to grid, or V2H, vehicle-to-home) can play an important role in stabilizing the grid. Secondly, while we covered EVs of all sizes and forms, we have not yet had a pickup truck as our EV of the month. So, without further ado, the Ford F150 Lightning: a truck with great V2H support.

Image Description

Zero carbon living: what would it cost today?

In order to avoid the most significant impacts from climate change, warming has to be limited to 1.5°-2° Celsius. This could be achieved by decarbonising all human activities, including transport, energy, and food. It requires widespread cooperation to reach zero emissions globally, including the public sector, businesses, but also households. In fact, households are indirectly responsible for about 70% of global emissions.

Image Description

Two new features for tracking your electricity consumption and its carbon emissions with Zerofy

More than a third of carbon emissions of a typical European household are related to home energy consumption (e.g. 36% for Germany). Approximately a quarter of this energy consumption is electricity for lighting, appliances, etc. The share of electricity in the total household energy consumption will further increase, as space and hot water heating are electrified through the use of heat pumps instead of fossil fuels.

Image Description

How green is your electricity? An introduction to carbon intensity

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few months, you’ve certainly heard about the expected critical gas and electricity supply situation in Europe towards the winter. Driven by Russia’s reduction of gas deliveries to Europe, the French Nuclear plants struggling with planned and unplanned maintenance, and particularly hot and dry summer, energy prices across Europe have been skyrocketing. These recent developments come on top of an already ongoing transition of our electricity and energy systems to achieve lower CO2 emissions.

Image Description

How much electricity does a solar panel produce? A summary of key facts for solar

Electricity produced from solar panels is an essential part of decarbonisation of our electricity and energy system. In contrast to traditional electricity supply, where electricity is produced centrally and households merely consume, they can now become producers of energy by installing solar panels. With this, households can gain autarky, protect against high electricity prices, and help decarbonize our electricity system.

Image Description

Building an automated and holistic carbon tracking app for households

At Zerofy our goal is to simplify a low-carbon (and ultimately zero-carbon) lifestyle. Measuring and understanding where emissions in one’s life or household come from is the first step before identifying the big levers to take action. In this article, we describe our technical and design approach toward automated and real-time household carbon emissions tracking.

Image Description

Does electric car sharing work? A real-life test.

Shared mobility concepts promise that they reduce the number of vehicles on the road, which is expected to have a positive impact both on the emissions from the production of vehicles, and also less space required for parking lots. While scooters and bikes are hoped to reduce the kilometers driven by cars overall, car sharing would mainly lead to more efficient usage of a smaller fleet of vehicles. If the fleet is electric, emissions from driving would also be reduced significantly.

Image Description

kWh vs. kW: what's the difference?

With an energy crisis in Europe simultaneous to the transition to a green energy system, energy is truly the topic of the hour. States and consumers alike, are hence urgently looking to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. When looking into the solutions (electric vehicles, solar, heating with a heat pump, or energy saving), you will sooner or later encounter the units kWh (kilowatt-hour) and kW (kilowatt). However, often these units are confused. Let’s clarify!

Image Description

The BMW i3, i4, and iX are our EVs of the month in July

For July we have not just a single EV of the month, not even a duo, but a trio of cars! The BMW i3, the BMW i4, and the BMW iX. BMW is an interesting case when it comes to the transition from combustion engines to electric drivetrains. As we’ll show below, BMW in 2013 was a pioneer with the introduction of the i3, but then fell behind and kept lobbying for the combustion engine instead of embracing change.

Image Description

Our EV of the month in June: Kia EV6

Last month’s EV of the month, the Nissan Leaf, was European car of the year back in 2011. This month we will have a closer look at the electric car that won the title this year, more than a decade later: the European car of the year 2022 is the Kia EV6. Reason enough to make it our EV of the month.

Image Description

Mercedes EQS is our EV of the month for April 2022

Last month our EV of the month was a modern, electric van for Hippies or families. This month we’re addressing a whole other segment: luxury limousines. The idea for this post came about while reading that the Dutch parliament postponed electrification of their fleet, at least partially due to “lack of comfort” when it comes to available EV options.

Image Description

Typical household CO2 emissions and their breakdown into spending categories

Chances are that you have come across one of the countless available CO2 footprint calculators: you may also have noticed that they typically estimate carbon footprint on the basis of an individual (or “per capita”). And many statistics report per capita metrics, too. However, the majority of people live in a household of two or more persons, where some resources such as housing (including electricity, heating, etc.), cars (and often even meals) are shared. This means for many of us the “household” is really the relevant unit when it comes to understanding CO2 emissions.

Image Description

Three great commuter ebikes for 2022

Commuting by bike allows for combining some exercise and fresh air with the daily necessity of the commute. E-bikes can be particularly useful compared to regular bikes, as they enable commuters to travel further distances, travel faster and help avoid arriving at work exhausted and sweaty. Recent research has also shown that e-bike ownership correlates with a reduction of car usage and public transport usage (albeit no effect on car ownership could be measured). Reducing (ICE) car usage has a direct benefit of burning less oil and with that reducing CO2 emissions.

Image Description

Four spacious electric vehicles to look forward to in 2021

2020 has seen significant growth in sales of battery-electric vehicles. A wider range of models has become available at increasingly competitive prices. All the while, charging networks are rapidly improving, which mitigates range anxiety. In 2021 we expect various exciting models in the crossover and SUV space. Some of them will be particularly popular with families, closing an important gap in this market. This post introduces 4 of next year’s models.

Image Description

Opportunities in zero-emissions transportation

With about 11% of the total, transportation is one of the key contributors to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In some regions, the share of the total is even larger. For example in the Euro area it is around 15% (see chart below), and in Switzerland transportation is responsible for even more than 30% of the total GHG emissions.

Image Description

An amazing future - climate action as an opportunity

As we enter the new decade, looking back climate change is probably the dominating topic of 2019. And rightfully so: a sense of urgency and swift action are needed! However, when it comes to the discussion around efforts to decrease the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, my concern is, that too much emphasis is put on the challenges. Instead, we should focus on the opportunities!