A new app from the National Resources Defense Council, OPOWER, and Facebook wants to make saving energy a social experience - a perhaps even a little bit of a competition.
The app, OPOWER analyzes your energy use based on your house and its features and compares that to similar homes in the area, as well as your Facebook friends. From Facebook:
Today we're announcing a new social energy app, developed in partnership with the National Resources Defense Council and OPOWER. With an initial reach of 20 million households, the app allows people to quickly and easily start benchmarking their home's energy use against similar homes. People can also compare their energy use with friends, enter energy-saving competitions and share tips on becoming more energy efficient.
Once you allow OPOWER to connect to Facebook, you create your "home profile." That includes answering questions about your residence like location, sq. footage, type of A/C system, amount of fireplaces, etc. They take all of this and compare it against your monthly bills.
From this, you're given a little mini report about your energy consumption compared to all similar homes in your area and with homes that qualify as "efficient."
The app also has tips for ways to save, like replacing an old refrigerator or avoiding over-drying clothes.
All of this can be done without any connection to Facebook, really. But the social aspect of the app of course requires Facebook. OPOWER lets you see how you rank compared to all your Facebook friends that also use the app. You can also share "accomplishment" to Facebook, for instance if your energy consumption went down 5% from March to April.
If your local utility company is supported by OPOWER, you can link it, which makes tracking your energy-saving progress a little bit easier.
I guess the idea is that turning the energy conservation into a social experience will help people get into it even more. Do you think that a little bit of gamification can help people remember to flip off their lights when they leave? Let us know in the comments.