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Facebook’s Social Energy Efficiency App

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By Zachary

Energy efficiency holds huge potential when it comes to being better stewards of the environment and stopping climate change (well, human-caused, extremely rapid and destructive climate change, that is).

It could also help us save money. Reportedly, the U.S. could save $700 billions dollars with some energy efficiency improvements.

How much time do we spend thinking about energy and these potential savings, though? The average American spends about 6 minutes per year doing so, according to studies. Yes, 6 minutes per year! (That’s a lot, right?)

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Facebook’s Social Energy App

One unlikely hero on the energy efficiency front might be Facebook.

Aside from making its data centers more energy efficient and helping to show others how to do so, Facebook is now working with Opower and the Natural Resources Defense Council on a social energy efficiency app.

More info?

Yes, of course. The app will:

  1. let you benchmark your home’s energy use compared to the national average of similar homes,
  2. compare your energy use with that of your friends,
  3. engage in energy-saving competitions, and
  4. share energy efficiency tips.

Everyone knows Facebook, but you might be wondering at this point who Opower is.

Opower is a “community engagement platform for the utility industry.” Sexy, eh? Seriously, though, it has nearly 60 utility partners, so it is going to be providing a ton of data and users will be able to look into things they were never able to before.

NRDC, of course, will be bringing its environmental and energy consumption expertise to the table. It will also work on engaging new partners and helping to “market” the app to consumers (i.e. help inform them it exists and how to use it).

Facebook has the attention of hundreds of millions of people. So, the potential to tap some of energy efficiency potential here is huge. I’m looking forward to seeing the app once it’s released. And looking forward to pouring over the numbers (I’m into statistics).

But what do you think?

Countless apps, games, online tools, and gadgets have been created to help you more easily monitor how much energy you’re using at home. The problem with all of them to date has been that they are either too expensive for mass-adoption or they just don’t integrate well into daily life…or both.

Will Facebook’s social energy efficiency app be a game changer that puts energy usage data easily at our fingertips…and even makes it fun?

Would you use it?

UPDATE: Check out Facebook’s Social Energy App a.k.a. Green on Facebook.

Photo: goiaba