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The mantra “if you measure it, you can manage it” is key to reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions, and using open web tools seems to be one of the best ways to do it. That’s why we were encouraged to hear that AMEE, one of our favorite British web projects that has built a platform to aggregate trusted energy and carbon emissions data, has reportedly raised $1 million from San Francisco-based O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (seed funding arm of the media company), according to peHUB.com. AMEE originally stood for the “Avoiding Mass Extinctions Engine,” but no one seems to call it that anymore.
I was on a panel with AMEE founder Gavin Starks at South By Southwest earlier this year and had a chance to learn about the project first hand. Starks has been working on AMEE for about three years, and has created an open API that aggregates the information needed to monitor carbon emissions and perform carbon calculations for the user. By using a standard methodology and set of data to measure carbon footprints, AMEE can make this nascent practice more reliable, trusted and transparent and perhaps one day lead to the integration of validated carbon information into profiles of everything from goods, to actions, to people.
Third parties like it because they can brand the platform to offer carbon calculators to their own communities. Big-name users include Google (for its UK carbon calculator), the British and Irish governments, Morgan Stanley, Radiohead (carbon footprint for their concert tour), Sun Microsystems (for its OpenEco.org initiative), online travel site Dopplr and green social network nonprofit Zerofootprint. Because the platform is neutral and open, companies can build their own business models off of incorporating the info.
The Series A funds from O’Reilly will likely help Starks add staff to keep up with demand. (We’re waiting to hear more from Starks on the funding). While the project has started to gain interested users in the UK, we would expect more U.S. organizations to realize the potential soon, particularly as states and the federal government implement carbon cap-and-trade systems. We remember Starks gave a presentation on AMEE back at O’Reilly’s ETech conference earlier this year (a good way to find potential investments?) You can download and check out Stark’s interesting thoughts on carbon profiles and carbon identities from that conference on the O’Reilly site.