How to make saving energy as easy as listening to a podcast

By admin on April 5, 2012

This week during a Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) webinar about the Green Button, Cameron Brooks of Tendril explained that he will know that smart grid is really working when it is “as easy for my home to take advantage of extra wind power on the grid as it is for me to subscribe to a podcast on my iPhone.” In other words, Brooks quoted Sunil Paul saying that innovations in smart grid have the potential to be “things that are going to make life more awesome.”

Giving energy customers the tools that make life more awesome is important, especially in an industry where without these tools, most people aren’t really that interested in their own data. As Brooks explained, “Every study I’ve seen on the smart grid consumer says that you have to make things simple and seamless for the consumer, because they aren’t really thinking about energy.”

The Green Button has the potential to change this dynamic, providing information as an input into software and devices that can really make sense of the data. The true power of the initiative will come from the software developers who take this data and create innovative applications that will provide the consumer with actionable insights into their energy use.

“The energy consumer of the next decade is not going to look anything like the consumer of the last few decades,” continued Brooks. “Demand will change as a result of these new applications.” This is why Tendril is sponsoring clean web hackathons and created Green Button Connect to showcase the applications that are developed, he concluded.

Continuing on the webinar, Zahra Makoui of PG&E agreed about the potential and excitement of innovative applications, referencing an example of a developer who created an app based on Green Button data in under 12 hours – while moving to a new state to live. She also mentioned another example of a family who analyzed their own Green Button energy usage data themselves to cut their bill in half over several months, pointing out how much more rapidly and easily they could have achieved similar results with an app to help them to better understand the data.

Energy usage data provided by industry initiatives like the Green Button is the input that is needed for entrepreneurs to develop innovative applications that make this information more accessible, interesting, and actionable. These entrepreneurial innovations in smart grid will mash together information and technology in interesting new ways. Learn more here about translating data into customer engagement, and thanks again to SGCC for organizing this great webinar!