The Green Button initiative was featured today on TechCrunch in an article that describes how third party applications such as Simple Energy can leverage the data to develop exciting new ways of encouraging people to save energy. “The interesting aspect isn’t so much in the download itself, but what can be done with it. Federal officials hope this kind of data liberation will inspire developers to build apps and services that will help customers track and reduce their energy consumption.”
Indeed, the data liberation has already inspired us. By leveraging the power of social networks and game mechanics, Simple Energy transforms Green Button data into a social, fun and simple way of motivating people to save energy by competing with their friends and neighbors. This approach worked pretty well in San Diego this summer, where participants saved an average of 20% with almost 50% in energy reduction for the winner.
Seth Godin is also interested in how this data liberation will affect behavioral change. “It’s clear that the consumption of energy has external effects that impact more than just the person who is paying for it. Geopolitical, health and economic issues come to the neighbors and nearby citizens of entities that are using a lot of power… When we have the opportunity to rank consumption by industry or by neighborhood, will we?”
He concludes that “where tribes are aware of what their members are up to, I think it’s going to happen quicker than most people expect,” pointing out the Green Button as an example of how it’s already happening.
Finally, the New York Times also recently described how energy data liberation is already happening, using Green Button and Simple Energy as examples. “The company recently began trials of the game, along with Tendril’s energy monitoring device, with 200 residential energy customers in Texas and the San Diego area. Among San Diego Gas & Electric customers who took part in a three-month energy savings contest last fall, the average monthly savings was 20 percent. The winner, called the Biggest Saver, reduced her energy usage by about 45 percent.”
We’re excited for what Simple Energy and other applications will be able to do with Green Button data to help motivate people to save energy.