Today, there's an app for everything, whether it's on your smartphone, tablet, or even Facebook. Even if you use an app on your smartphone or tablet, it's likely the app is in some way integrated with Facebook. There's something people find appealing about sharing tidbits of their daily lives, and conversely, seeing what friends, old and new, are up to. Often, people will turn to their friends on Facebook and ask advice, or compare aspects of their life with others. Now, there's a way to see how you compare to your friends' consumption of energy without having to pose the question: there's an app for that.
Facebook teamed up with Opower, an energy information software firm, and the Natural Resources Defense Council to create an app that allows users to keep an eye on their energy usage. Simply connect with your local power company via Facebook and begin working towards your energy conservation goal.
It's All About Sharing
A little over 20 million households and 16 utility companies in the United States have started using the program, and it appears to be going well. Opower CEO Dan Yates is amazed at the positive things he's seen happen thus far. He calls users enthusiastic, happy to be working towards saving energy and, in turn, money. He notes that a lot of users will share results with friends, inspiring others to do the same in working towards a better energy efficiency.
He thinks this experience will open up the eyes of the utility companies, showing them that people really do care about the impact of their own energy usage and want to make small changes in order to make a big difference. If everyone in the US cut their usage by 1%, $1.6 billion would be slashed collectively from annual energy bills. This app helps teach people that making small changes does, in fact, make a big difference annually.
How Does It Work?
The app puts the smart grid capabilities of the public utility companies to good use, allowing users to compare usage with their friends. Facebook friends are ranked in order of energy efficiency, and groups can be formed with the goal of competing as a team against other teams in a battle of energy efficiency. Bonus: users can compare their own usage against others who's homes are similar in size thanks to a database full of energy use stats for millions of homes.
So, you can compare your usage with that of friends and people you may not know who's houses are similar to your own. Now you want to tell the world, and the app developers want you to do just that through chat and Facebook wall posts. Share with your friends how you stack up and what groups you might be participating against, or offer up tips on how you were able to cut down on your own usage.
This is open to all users of Facebook. Although there are only 16 participating utility companies, you are able to input your usage information and other stats included on your bill if you happen to use a company which isn't yet partnered with the app. If you are with one of the lucky 16 who participate, your information will automatically load. Head to Facebook, sign up, and start taking control of your energy usage today.