Interactive

University of exeter trials Emissions Visualiser

CLIENT

University of Exeter, UK

PURPOSE

To reduce the environmental impact of the University of Exeter by raising awareness of energy use and carbon emissions and encouraging energy-saving behaviour and actions.

DESCRIPTION

A prototype interactive web-tool and animation that presents energy data in a way that could help academics, staff and students understand the environmental impact of all 120 buildings on the two campuses at Exeter University.

The university has set an ambitious carbon reduction target of 43% by 2020 based on emissions in 2005/2006.  Achieving this reduction is going to be a challenge for the University as it continues to grow and provide quality facilities for teaching, students, research and staff.

The estates department wanted to see if Carbon Visuals could create a web-based interactive that would engage people on campus in the energy consumption and carbon footprint of all the buildings in a non-technical and visual way.  Initially sized for running on tablets, the prototype tool runs on desk-tops and mobile phones with modern browsers.  The inclusion of social media links allows images and information to be shared and opens the way for more dialogue with the Estates Department.  

In order to raise interest in the web-tool we also created a simple animation and VINE showing the total real-time carbon emissions of the university.  

The effectiveness of the web-tool will now be tested with groups of students, academics and appropriate staff.  Note that at present the Projects tab for buildings has not yet been populated. 

A similar prototype tool, animation or overview visual can be created quickly and economically for any university, college or estate - anywhere in the world.  We are currently looking for up to six additional universities who would like to pilot this communication method.

To find out more contact:  Antony Turner +44 (0)7973 641131      antony.turner@carbonvisuals.com

 

ENGAGED AND NON-ENGAGED AUDIENCES

We specialise in reaching non-engaged audiences. People who do not feel ownership of the data you present and do not come to the data with prior questions of their own are what we call non-engaged audiences. They have very different needs from other audiences for data visualisation, but the distinction is often ignored. Most data visualisation is created as if the audience already understands the significance of the data and are keen to explore it.

Engaged audiences include building managers and people charged with reducing environmental impact or cutting costs. To present energy data or emissions data to these audiences, graphs and other abstract representations are appropriate. These audiences already know what they are looking at  they just want to scrutinise it for any trends that can provide insight or hints for improvement.

This text is from our blog that provides the rationale for this interactive tool.  

California's massive methane leak

PURPOSE

To illustrate how an interactive animation can help communicate a quantified yet invisible environmental challenge

DESCRIPTION

We have produced an interactive animation to visualise and bring insight to the rate at which methane is being released from a gas leak in California

In Aliso Canyon in California, a gas leak is spewing methane into the air. On the 23rd of October 2015 the leak erupted at a natural gas storage facility near Los Angeles.  As of the time of writing (Jan 2016), this leak is still ongoing - at an enormous rate. We have created the interactive animation below to give insight as to the scale of that rate.

We used emissions rate data from here (report by California Air Resources Board), though we could potentially link this value to a live data feed.

We have used a figure of 84 for the CO2 global warming equivalent of methane (over a period of 20 years). This number was taken from a report published by the IPCC on Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing (chapter 8, page 714, table 8.7).

This visualisation is produced in your web browser so the quality e.g. the ‘look’ of the bubbles cannot be as sharp as in a pre-rendered animation. This also means that it may run a little slowly on some computers - switching to a different browser might help.

 

What does this visualisation show?

This visualisation is showing us accurate volumes of gas at (approximately) the actual rate at which they are being emitted. Each sphere represents 10 kg of gas. After 4 tonnes have been emitted the animation starts again from the beginning.

 

Why show Carbon Dioxide as well?

Methane is a powerful climate pollutant and greenhouse gas. It’s about 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This means that 1 kg of methane being emitted will have a similar effect on global warming as 84 kg of CO2. If you click the button at the top of the visualisation marked ‘Carbon Dioxide’, you will be able to see the CO2 equivalent emissions rate.

 

Where can I find out more?

Our friends at Environmental Defense Fund have published an informative article on the Aliso Canyon leak here.

Click here to see their aerial video showing the methane plume.

Below is their real-time methane counter which we really like.

Carbon Brief also have an excellent article and infographic here.

 

Other approaches

In the course of exploring different visual options we created some sketches in Google Earth.  Initial sketches were created with giant bubbles located at the methane leak site but these did not work as there is no scaling object or building.  Placing the bubbles in Los Angeles seemed the next best option but again the geography of the city does not help.  So these are included for interest, but are not considered finished images.

 

Social Media Use

Simple interactives with short Vine or GIF animations can get extensive social media attention.

Ozone interactives

CLIENT

United Nations Environment Program

PURPOSE

To communicate and celebrate 30 years of international effort in protecting the ozone layer

DESCRIPTION

Three ways to explore the actual distribution of ozone in the atmosphere and a way to visualise the impact of the Montreal Protocol.

One of the problems with talking about the ozone layer is that few people have a good sense of what it is actually like. Many people have conflicting ideas about ozone and the atmosphere and this confusion can prevent full engagement with the subject. Interactives support other media such as movies, text and images by giving people a way to answer their own questions about ozone as they arise. How thick is the ozone layer? Where is it? How smoothly is ozone distributed? Sometimes it is just more fun to play with data yourself than to watch a video.

The Ozone Globe

We have created an interactive and self-running globe that displays current ozone distribution and also celebrates each country’s ratification of the Vienna Convention and implementation of the Montreal Protocol.

Click here to visit the interactive Ozone Globe.

2D air map

This interactive 2D map of the atmosphere allows users to explore the distribution of ozone for themselves. Each white spot represents 10 billion billion billion molecules of ozone. It allows for questions to be raised, such as 'what effect does ozone have on atmospheric temperature?' or 'why does ozone sit where it does in the atmosphere?'. The buttons turn elements of the map on and off, and you can drag the map to explore vertically.

3D air map

This 3D map of the ozone layer shows a 20 km x 20 km area of land (centered over the peak of Mount Everest) and all the air above it extending to an altitude of 100 km (the edge of space). Each floating particle represents 10 billion billion billion molecules of ozone. The region marked in orange indicates the ozone layer.

UN ozone celebrations

CLIENT

United Nations Environment Programme

PURPOSE

To communicate and celebrate 30 years of international effort in protecting the ozone layer.

DESCRIPTION

A campaign that includes a series of animations, visual images, print and online communication tools to help communicate what the ozone layer is, where it is in the atmosphere and what has been achieved under the ozone protection regime.

Thirty years ago the first images of the ozone hole created a media storm and helped lead to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol.

People only had to look at a picture to physically see atmospheric chemistry. It didn’t take much persuasion to convince the policy makers to take action. 

Pawan Bhartia, NASA atmospheric scientist

Carbon Visuals was honoured to be asked to create a digital campaign to communicate and celebrate the 30th anniversary of this event.  We did not want to ‘re-invent the wheel’ so we started by researching what we felt was missing from ozone communications to date.  

Our view was that few people have an intuitive sense of what the ozone hole is like, where it is, how much ozone there is, or how deep the atmosphere is.  So we have created a selection of visual images, animations and web-tools that help everyone from policymakers to children better understand these things.

Over the coming months different elements will be releasedalongside key events within the UNEP calendar.  This week, July 20-23, we are releasing two elements.

Precious ozone - the size of it

A short animation and a set of still images give viewers a sense of scale for how much air there is in the atmosphere and how much of it is ozone.  

Click here to view on Youtube.

Ozone Globe

An interactive / self-running globe that displays current ozone distribution and also celebrates each country’s ratification of the Vienna Convention.

Click here to visit the interactive

 

All images are available under Creative Commons licence to download on our Flickr page

UN Ozone website: http://ozone.unep.org/en/infomaterials.php

Resource efficiency in Asia Pacific

CLIENT

United Nations Environment Programme

PURPOSE

To convey the scale and complexity of resource use in the Asia Pacific region at a conference of Environment Ministers and subsequently to other audiences.

DESCRIPTION

A high impact video and interactive web-tools to introduce and enable easy exploration of a database covering 26 Asia Pacific countries, 157 indicators and 40 years.

How much natural resources are used to earn one dollar in developing countries in the Asia Pacific region? How do you effectively show water, metal and biomass usage rates across 26 Asian countries - and make it personal and real? What is the best way to visualise a range of environmental resource indicators ‘per GDP’ across countries?

These were some of the challenges set for us by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in a project undertaken in conjunction with our not-for-profit partner CarbonSense Foundation.

This video has taken our communications to a higher level, and improved our ability to cut across a crowded policy landscape to really help decision makers reflect on resource efficiency.

Janet Salem, UNEP, Bangkok

The brief from the UNEP Bangkok office was to design and create a short, high impact video to convey the scale and complexity of resource use in the Asia Pacific region. In addition a set of interactive web-tools is being provided to complement the film and allow easy exploration of the data.

The film is supporting a database of resource efficiency data covering 26 Asia Pacific countries, 157 indicators and 40 years (1970-2010). The indicators are designed to inform policy development in the region based on the principles of circular economy, sustainable consumption and production principles.*

Resource efficiency is crucial for sustainability but how do you make it real and meaningful at a national and a personal level? To bring such a huge subject up front and personal, we combined live action film introducing very real piles of materials on a table-top with national and regional resource use and impacts made tangible with CGI graphics. And uniquely this project allowed us to explore ways that our creative techniques could be combined with economic data.

Because of the complexity of data and fast-track time schedule the project was carried out in a highly collaborative way, with UNEP staff in Bangkok supporting our creative team throughout the scoping, design and production phases.

The film was used to launch the UNEP Report at a conference on 19th May 2015 attended by Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, and Environment Ministers and policy makers from the Asia Pacific region.

See the UNEP webpage on project here

Finally - a very special thanks to Janet Salem of UNEP, Bangkok and our film presenter / narrator Patchari Raksawong.

*The database has been developed as a result of a three-year science-based consultative process mandated by countries in the region and coordinated by UNEP, the CSIRO and the Asia-Pacific Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production (APRSCP), with support from the European Union's SWITCH-Asia Programme.

An important part of this project was the creation of an interactive web-tool (see above) allowing policymakers to explore the database in detail in an intuitive way. We created a 'heat map' that allows comparison between a wide range of economic indicators for different countries. Mousing over the countries reveals the actual data.

Carbon Visuals has shown us different techniques to visualize data in a way that can resonate on a meaningful human level, while still giving us creative space for collaboration. We had a lot of fun with the team and it's been a really wonderful partnership.

Janet Salem, UNEP, Bangkok

Carbon Visuals brings radical emissions data to life

The Carbon Majors report, launched November 2013, is accompanied by striking graphics from Carbon Visuals which show the extent to which corporations are responsible for the cumulative emissions causing climate change.

Key information from a huge array of data has been conveyed by Carbon Visuals in both conventional and novel ways to give a feel for the scale of the cumulative emissions involved.

The Carbon Quilt - a global engagement tool

Instead of trying to communicate the complexities of climate change, we believe that a simple understanding of how we are changing the atmosphere of the planet could transform society’s view of the need for a low-carbon future.

Every day we wrap the planet in a paper-thick layer of carbon dioxide!

We’ve done the maths and it’s true. The 80 million tonnes of CO2 we release to the atmosphere every day by burning fossil fuels would be 80 microns thick if it were a single, uninterrupted layer at 100% concentration over our heads. Over the course of a year, that amounts to 31mm, or over an inch.

We call this imagined layer the Carbon Quilt – since pre-industrial times its thickness has increased from 2.3 metres to 3.2 metres.

In 2010, with support from The Tedworth Charitable Trust, we 'soft-launched' our Carbon Quilt web-tool that enables people to ‘see’ any carbon footprint – from a short car journey to the footprint of a country or continent. Any carbon footprint can be seen in proportion to any other, and in proportion to the global whole. It can also be positioned in a location that has meaning and provides a sense of scale for the person viewing it.

Carbon Visuals has ambitious plans to develop this technical prototype tool on Google Earth to bring the abstract concept of 'carbon footprints' to life for over a billion people worldwide.

We are now actively seeking funding and/or sponsors to help us to develop this project. Please contact us if you have funding ideas, contacts or expertise that could help advance this project.

 BITC Mayday Network businesses' carbon footprint (and reduction)

BITC Mayday Network businesses' carbon footprint (and reduction)

To the left is a picture for the BITC (Business in the Community) Mayday Annual Report 2010.

Each year humans release enough carbon dioxide to cover the entire planet in a layer 37 mm thick. The proportion of this 'quilt' that reporting Mayday Network businesses are responsible for is the green 'patch'.

Total reported emissions in 2010 (green patch) is 5.6 million tonnes of CO2(e). Emission reduction in previous 12 months is shown as the dotted area.

It represents a saving of 400 thousand tonnes of CO2(e).