Air Quality Egg
AirQualityEgg NO2 data
Current cost electricity usage
Current cost electricity data
These two data source aren’t pumping out data anymore but you can see an example here.
The code is also on github.
I recently got an Air Quality Egg. The Air Quality Egg is a open source hardware project to measure air quality hyper-locally. My egg is located on the balcony of my flat in Brixton, London. The Air Quality Egg device has sensors which read NO2, CO, humidity & temperature and posts the data to Cosm. You can view readings and simple graphs on the Cosm feed page.
Air Quality Egg on the balcony of my flat
Plotting sensor data using R
I wanted to see the trends in the data so I wrote a script in R to curl the data from the Cosm API and plot it using GGPlot.
Here is the script:
Here are some example graphs of NO2 over a single day and several days. (Note I don’t have the latest sensor updates so the readings may be a bit off)
Plot of NO2 for a single day
Plot of NO2 for a 4 day period
I’m a member of Brixton Energy, a cooperative in South London that installs solar panels on social housing. The projects are crowd-funded by community members, with some of the profits used to support energy efficiency in the community. We are transparent about what we do and we want our investors to able to see the impact of their investments. One way we are doing this is by sharing how much electricity the panels are generating to anyone who is curious.
Opening up solar generation data
Unemotional data and graphs in solar log
The solar generation data is logged to a website called solar log which came with the solar panel system. I wanted to integrate the data more closely with our website so I hacked together a really nasty script to scrape it from the solar log website and post the generation data to Cosm, the Internet of Things platform. In Cosm you can easily set up automated tweets based on changes to the data. I did just that and created a new twitter account @BES_Generation that tweets when electricity generation for the day exceeds 20, 50, 100, 150, 200 and 250kWh.
An unexpectedly emotional response
I set up the auto tweeting for my own use. First, to make sure that the data was posting successfully to Cosm and second, to get push notifications of how the solar panels were doing without having to visit the solar log website.
I was surprised by how cheerful and happy the tweets made me feel.
It might have been because it was March and winter was finally ending but the combination of sunshine, being involved in a cool environmental project and knowing my investment was doing well was a real buzz!
But then I was even more surprised that other people liked it too:
The real world causes real emotions
Real infrastructure in the real world – solar panels in Brixton
Usually data and websites themselves don’t produce an emotional response.
The Internet of Things seems different. It connects us to the physical world which is full of emotions.
In this case each tweet connected me to a community project that I am really proud to be part of and to the instinctive cheerfulness caused by a sunny day.