American utility customers now have some field-tested mobile and web applications for monitoring their household energy consumption, thanks to the US Department of Energy’s Apps for Energy Challenge. Launched to provide $100,000 in prizes for software developers who create the most innovative new apps for integrating the Green Button electricity usage data, the competition has resulted in some very useful tools that should make homeowners more informed about how they’re using energy and what they can to do reduce their utility costs.
Green Button is a new standard developed by the US Department of Energy to make available the energy usage data generated by utility customers so that they could take action to reduce their carbon footprints at home and at work. Green Button data, which so far will be provided by nine major utilities in the US servicing over 31 million customers, is hoped to help consumers across the country save millions in utility costs. Following are the top three Best Overall Application winners.
Leafully Energy Application
Organizing the energy usage data in the image of a tree, Leafully provides a total tree footprint expressed in the number of trees needed to offset the pollution generated by a household or business. Utility customers with access to Green Button data can sign into the application using a Facebook identification, giving them access to four views on their energy consumption: overview, trends, calculator, and ways to save. Using charts and other visual aids, Leafully makes it easy for consumers to see where they’re wasting energy and provides useful tips and tricks for minimizing waste by reducing things like sleeping energy use, peak energy usage, and so forth.
VELObill Energy Application
VELObill is homeowner focused energy application that helps utility consumers see how much energy they’re using, identify where there are high and low points in energy consumption, and compare their results to friends and family. The application then makes it easy for utility customers to make a plan for reducing their energy use either through changes in energy use habits or a home energy retrofit. The app is useful for electricity, natural gas, and water, and will identify savings opportunities by evaluating peak energy consumption and doing return on investment analysis for infrastructure upgrades.
Melon Energy Application
This application is designed with the commercial building owner in mind. By taking utility information for a commercial building and running it through their system, Melon is able to provide a quick ENERGY STAR score so that building owners and managers can see where they are at present and how far they have to go to achieving ENERGY STAR benchmarks. They then provide the next steps needed for a building to achieve ENERGY STAR status so that asset owners and managers have a simple path for reaching this money-saving achievement.