New ways to monitor your home energy usage over the Internet are springing up. Google offers Powermeter and Microsoft has Hohm. Just last week we wrote about Wattvision. Now you can add Earth Aid to the list.
But Earth Aid doesn’t just show you charts of how much energy and water your household goes through. It offers a rewards program to encourage you to save energy. Earth Aid monitors how much electricity, water, and natural gas you use and how much you spend on these utilities. It grabs the data directly from the utilities (with your permission), and compares how much energy and water you consume to the same month a year ago. As you consume less energy and water, you get reward points which are redeemable at local businesses.
These are just like travel rewards, except for saving energy. You get to feel good and shop at the same time. The company also sells equipment to help make your house more energy efficient. And really, the only way you are really going to be able to keep racking up points is to change some equipment in your house. There is only so much you can turn the heat down or change your behavior to save water. Once you do those things, you are down to swapping out equipment and insulating your house better.
If it takes rewards points to make people realize they should do that anyway, I guess that’s better (for the environment) than flying around the world to rack up points.