Green Button is the common-sense idea that electricity customers should be able to securely download their own easy-to-understand energy usage information from their utility or electricity supplier. Armed with this information, consumers can use a growing array of new web and smartphone tools to make more informed energy decisions, optimize the size and cost-effectiveness of solar panels for their home, or verify that energy-efficiency retrofit investments are performing as promised. Consumers can even use fun innovative apps that allow individuals to compete against Facebook friends to save energy and lower their carbon emissions.
Green Button is an industry-led effort that responds to a White House call-to-action: provide electricity customers with easy access to their energy usage data in a consumer-friendly and computer-friendly format via a "Green Button" on electric utilities' website. Green Button is based on a common technical standard developed in collaboration with a public-private partnership supported by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology. Voluntary adoption of a consensus standard by utilities across the Nation allows software developers and other entrepreneurs to leverage a sufficiently large market to support the creation of innovative applications that can help consumers make the most of their energy usage information.
Initially launched in January, utilities committed to provide Green Button capability to nearly 12 million households in 2012. Two utilities - Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric - have implemented live functionality on their websites. Recently, nine major utilities and electricity suppliers signed on to the initiative, committing to provide more than 15 million households secure access to their energy data with a simple click of an online Green Button. In total, these commitments ensure that 27 million households will be able to access their own energy information, and this number will continue to grow as utilities nation-wide voluntarily make energy data more available in this common, machine-readable format.
Here are a few ways that data from Green Button might be put to use:
Numerous companies are already developing Web and smartphone applications and services for businesses and consumers that can use Green Button data to help consumers choose the most economical rate plan for their use patterns; deliver customized energy-efficiency tips; provide easy-to-use tools to size and finance rooftop solar panels; and conduct virtual energy audits that can cut costs for building owners and speed the initiation of retrofits. Developing innovative applications and services to help consumers understand and manage their energy use and understand the environmental impacts of that usage is a field ripe for American innovation.
Moving forward, Green Button has the potential to reach every American household and business. Communities, utilities, and businesses across the country can benefit from better access to energy data in a consumer-friendly and computer-readable format through the Green Button initiative.
of the Green Button data means that now, our platform can
be leveraged by each of these groups and ultimately, help
foster the creation of an energy app marketplace that
will drive continued innovation, job growth and cleaner
–Tendril CEO Adrian Tuck
Every day, utilities and developers are joining the Green Button Initiative and creating dynamic applications to provide easy access to energy use data.
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