Green Button Initiative and the $100,000 App Challenge

The Department of Energy began a new initiative in September to make understanding your energy usage simpler:

Introducing the Green Button

The Green Button Challenge is one step towards realizing the common-sense idea that consumers should have access to their own energy usage information in a downloadable, easy-to-use electronic format, offered by their utility or retail energy service provider. In September 2011, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra challenged utilities across the country to develop a “Green Button”—detailed customer usage information available for download in a simple, common format. With this information at their fingertips, consumers would be enabled to make more informed decisions about their energy use and, when coupled with opportunities to take action, empowered to more actively manage their energy use. Furthermore, making this information available—in standardized file formats—will help spur innovative new consumer applications and devices from entrepreneurs, large companies, and even students. Here are just a few ways the Green Button might be put to use today:

  • Insight: entrepreneur-created web portals to analyze usage and provide actionable tips;
  • Heating and Cooling: customizing thermostats for savings and comfort;
  • Education: community and student energy efficiency competitions;
  • Retrofits: improved decision-support tools to facilitate energy efficiency retrofits;
  • Verification: measurement of structural energy efficiency investments;
  • Real Estate: energy costs for tenants and/or new home purchasers; and
  • Solar: optimizing the size of rooftop solar panels. Read More Here.
Last week they issued a $100,000 challenge to software developers to now develop apps that use the Green Button. Tomorrow they're having a live chat for anyone interested in developing an app.  More information here about the whole project.
And a helpful video on how to enter the contest: