A new Facebook App from the Natural Resources Defense Council lets you find out how your home energy use compares with your Facebook friends who are using the app along with people in your community in similar houses and the nation as a whole.
To use the app visit Social.OPower.com, log-in with Facebook and provide the name and account number of your utility company to quickly see a summary of your electrical usage, your “Friend rank,” (showing how you compare to friends) and how you compare with homes in your region with similar characteristics such as size, number of residents and type of heating system.
The app takes advantage of social norming to give people a sense of how others they know are using energy. Social norming has also been shown to be effective in preventing certain types of harmful behaviors such as smoking and excessive drinking. There is even evidence to show that it cuts down on bullying.
“The level of enthusiasm we’re seeing from people who are excited about getting better context about their energy use, and share—even brag—about their energy efficiency within their social networks is inspiring,” said Dan Yates, CEO and co-founder of Opower.
As you can see from this chart, my house was a bit above average in February but way above the average usage of the most efficient 20% of homes similar to mine.
The app currently works with the following utilities across the United States:
- Austin Utilities (Minnesota)
- Burbank Water & Power
- Commonwealth Edison(ComEd)
- Connexus Energy
- Consumers Energy
- Direct Energy (coming later in 2012)
- Glendale Water & Power
- City of Loveland
- National Grid(New York and Massachusetts)
- New Jersey Natural Gas(coming in 2012)
- Owatonna Public Utilities
- Pacific Gas and Electric Company
- City of Palo Alto Utilities
- PPL Electric Utilities
- Rochester Public Utilities
- Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC