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No gaslighting

Updated on: 10 October,2021 07:59 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Anju Maskeri |

A new energy-saving startup is working toward not just reducing your carbon footprint, but also reversing emissions

No gaslighting

Lowsoot has tied up with Say Trees to plant mangroves in the Sundarbans, West Bengal

While working in the marketing and technology department of a hostel chain in India, Sachin Sengar’s job was to identify energy inefficiencies in the system and plug the gaps. Curtailing electrical expenditure turned out to be his biggest challenge. “In some cities, the [electricity] bills were greater than the collective sum of the staff’s salary,” he remembers. “People left the lights on. Air conditioners operated at non-optimal capacity, consuming more power. Most often, we’d realise this only after they would break down.” 

Bengaluru-based Sengar helped them scale down the emissions by 500 per cent in two years.

The app will provide monthly updates with data, photos, and stories that prove your impact on the environmentThe app will provide monthly updates with data, photos, and stories that prove your impact on the environment

Later, he launched a venture to help commercial properties save on energy. The more he researched climate change, the more he realised the urgency of cutting down carbon emissions. For this, he had to look beyond commercial properties.

Lowsoot is Sengar’s new startup whose mission is to track and erase carbon emissions by funding carbon removal projects. A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane that are generated by our actions. The team at Lowsoot has devised a calculator through which individuals and businesses can find out how much CO2 they emit. The calculator gives a rough estimate of your carbon footprint based on the size of your household, the efficiency of your appliances, how much you drive or fly, what you eat, and how much you recycle.

Sachin SengarSachin Sengar

More than 1,000 people have used the platform to know their annual footprint, claims Sengar, adding that the company has erased more than 5,000 tonne of carbon footprints until now, and their plan is to erase one lakh tonne in a year.  According to estimates, human activities emit 51 billion tonne of greenhouse gases per year, which is equal to cutting 225 billion trees annually. At this rate, experts anticipate a climate catastrophe by 2050. 

It’s not enough to reduce carbon emissions alone, believes Sengar. “By doing so, it’ll only delay the climate catastrophe; instead of 2050, we might hit one by 2070. To avoid the possibility altogether, we need to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. In fact, we need to do both simultaneously.”

Earlier this year, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk donated $100 million to fund a competition to find new ways to remove carbon from the air or water, in a bid to help fight climate change. 

At Lowsoot, the team has collaborated with organisations such as Say Trees, Grow Trees, both working towards planting and protecting mangroves, and INSEDA (Integrated Sustainable Energy and Ecological Development Association), which has been involved in the promotion and implementation of renewable energy programmes since 1980. 

“Currently, we are planting mangroves in the Sunderbans belt, because they have the ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, by storing it inside its structure. Research shows that coastal mangroves outperform most other forests in their capacity to store carbon. It’s also our natural coastal defence, so it protects communities at risk from severe weather disasters caused by climate change.” One mangrove tree removes 308 kg of CO2 from the atmosphere over its growth life, which is 12.3 kg per year.

On a daily level, Sengar says we need to focus on making small changes to our actions, like eating less meat, and not leaving ACs and water heaters on. 

Considering they are one of the first players in the energy-saving space, building trust among users is one of the challenges. “We are doing this by getting experienced scientists and researchers on board to provide more information and transparency.” 

Amount of carbon dioxide in kilos one mangrove tree can remove from the atmosphere during its lifetime

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