Facebook has announced a new “social energy app”, enabling you to compare your home energy consumption with that of your online friends and similar homes.
To launch the app, Facebook has partnered with the National Resources Defense Council and an energy efficiency software startup called Opower. The Virginia-based startup has so far raised more than $65 million in venture capital funding. Investors in the company include heavy hitters such as Acell Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Within the social energy app, accurate energy data is supplied by the 16 participating power utilities. If the utility you use is participating, you can have your household energy consumption data fed directly into the app and compared with other users anonymously. Some of the participating utilities include: National Grid, City of Palo Alto Utilities, ComEd, PG&E and Consumers Energy. Facebook has stated that the app will have an initial reach of a substantial 20 million U.S. households.
For a more basic (and far less accurate) comparison, on the Opower site you can also try a home energy comparison without connecting to Facebook or a power utility, by simply entering the dollar amount of your last electricity bill.
Making energy conservation into a kind of game, or at least an easy, fun, and competitive online activity, is certainly an interesting new approach. Do you think this kind of energy information sharing will catch on, or will people be a bit shy about sharing their energy consumption information online?
Are you keen to try the app yourself? If so, let us know what you think.