Earth Notes: Earth Notes Turned 10 in 2017!
Early in 2007 I had a minor brainwave and decided to create a simple single-page microsite about composting vs domestic solar power, an issue that was exercising me at the time, of which the remnants are now in their own page.
I was just about getting the energy saving bug, though it really took towards the end of the year to truly bite, someone having made me think of optimising my home/office energy use as an engineering challenge.
(I was later persuaded that I didn't need such heavy-handed use of colour! And yes, here's the missing image from that broken link from 2007!)
Now, something like 10 years after that 1-pager idea, Earth Notes is well over 100 pages, has been cited in research papers and newspapers, has been used as a data source by government departments and electric car/storage bods (in both those cases for PV generation data), has its own Twitter feed (@EarthOrgUK) with about 54,000 tweets so far, and is still going strong as of June 2017!
The site boilerplate and styling can now evolve much faster. The site is HTML5+CSS and responsive, and the mobile version delivers a tweaked faster version for smaller screens and small connections, though still responsive. Moving on from rat-proofing the compost heap to bug-proofing the pile of HTML, the site build tools warn quickly of overly large or small or missing or broken key elements, making maintaining a bigger site acceptably efficient and robust.
The thinking behind the site eventually had me lead a smart heating workshop at the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change in late 2012, and start the Open-Source Thermostatic Radiator Valve (OpenTRV) project in 2013 with the aim of knocking several percent off Europe's carbon footprint (and several £billion annually off home heating bills). That's been an interesting journey that has been the most fun running a start-up in 30 years, learning all sorts of new business and manufacturing and marketing and money-raising skills, all started from a page about compost. As someone from my Yorkshire upbringing might have said: "Where there's muck, there's brass."
Here's to another decade!
Damon, June 2017