The future of easy home energy monitoring may be a little bit closer, thanks to a government initiative designed to allow consumers direct access to their energy consumption data.
The White House’s new Green Button gives utilities a way to simplify and standardize sharing usage statistics with their customers via a one-click download. Two California providers, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric, already launched the feature, adding what is literally a green button to their websites. Utility companies in other regions are expected to implement it within the next year. Customers can click the button to download their personal usage information in one place.
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. One study showed that subjects who were given access to their data reduced their usage by 8.7% just by tracking it. At scale, this could mean an annual savings of $32 billon per year on the country’s annual $369 billion power bill.
The Green Button was inspired by the government’s success with its Blue Button initiative, which allows veterans instant access to their health care data.