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Apps for Energy FAQ

  1. How do I enter?
  2. What are the key competition dates?
  3. What kinds of apps can I submit?
  4. What are the criteria for the winning applications?
  5. Must I use Green Button data? Where can I find it?
  6. Do I retain intellectual property ownership?
  7. Can I offer a paid or premium version of my app, or paid features that can be unlocked?
  8. Can my app include advertisements?
  9. What will the Energy Department and competition Supporters do with my submission?
  10. Can more than one person work on an application and receive credit for it? And if the app wins a prize, will the prize money be split among the creators?
  11. Can I enter more than one application?
  12. Who is eligible to enter the competition and from what countries?
  13. How do I know if I qualify as a student for the student award?
  14. Why do I have to upload a video?
  15. Does my app need to have store approval prior to the submission deadline?
  16. Does my application have to be new for this competition?
  17. What if I have questions about the data?
  18. Are there any particular disclaimers I need to include?
  19. How does public voting work?
  20. How do I follow Apps for Energy and receive updates?
  21. Why is the Energy Department sponsoring Apps for Energy?
  22. Who can I contact if I have a question about the Apps for Energy Competition?

 

How do I enter?

  1. Visit http://appsforenergy.challenge.gov and click “Sign Up” to create a ChallengePost account, or click “Log In” and log in with an existing ChallengePost account.
  2. Register your interest in participating by clicking “Accept this Challenge” on the Competition Website in order to receive important Competition updates. Registration is free. No purchase necessary.
  3. After you sign up on Challenge.gov, a confirmation email will be sent to the email address you provided. Use the confirmation email to verify your email address.
  4. Explore the Green Button data and other resources available at http://energy.gov/developer .
  5. Create a working Software Application that uses Green Button data. While not required, it is recommended to use other third-party data in combination with Green Button.
  6. Between 12:01 a.m. ET on April 5, 2012 and 8 p.m. ET on May 15, 2012, visit Appsforenergy.Challenge.gov and submit your application by including: a) a link to your Application; b) a video of your Application to demonstrate navigation and functionality; c) a text description of your Application; and d) at least one photograph of your working application; e) optionally, submissions may include sample Green Button data to be used when judging the submission.

Note: It's important to include a video of your app. Some people may not have access to your app platform and will rely on the video. Be sure to create a video that clearly and concisely shows the functionality and purpose of your app, as well as the data used.

What are the key competition dates?

The submission deadline is May 15, 2012, at 8 p.m. EST. 
Judging and public voting will begin on May 17, 2012 at 8 a.m. EST, public voting will end May 21, 2012 at 8 p.m, and judging will end May 21, 2012. Winners will be announced on or around May 22, 2012.

What kinds of apps can I submit?

You can submit any app that is designed for the Web, a personal computer, a mobile handheld device, or any platform broadly accessible on the open Internet.

What are the criteria for the winning applications?

Software applications will be judged on the Potential Impact (the potential to educate, change behavior, and help utility customers make informed decisions), Creativity and Innovation (the quality of the idea), and Implementation (including user experience and design). There is an additional prize available for the best app that helps utility customers shift their electricity use away from peak days and times. Popular Choice awards will be determined by public voting. For full details, review the Official Rules.

Must I use Green Button data? Where can I find it?

Yes, software applications must use Green Button data. Sample Green Button data from a number of sources is available at http://energy.gov/developer. You may also use sample Green Button data from utilities, utility customers, or other sources. If you would like to demonstrate your app with a specific set of Green Button data, please submit that data along with the other pieces of your application. If the data provided does not match the Green Button standard, your submission may be disqualified.

Do I retain intellectual property ownership?

Yes, all entrants, regardless of winner status, will retain intellectual property ownership of their software applications. However, entrants must agree to make their applications available for free throughout the competition period and for one year afterward.

Can I offer a paid or premium version of my app, or paid features that can be unlocked?

You can offer a paid version of your app, but the version that you submit to the challenge must be free throughout the competition and for at least one year afterward. Features that are exclusive to the paid version will not be considered by the judges.

If your app includes some features that are unlocked with payment, those features should not be part of your submission. If your submission video or description includes the paid features, your submission may be disqualified.

Can my app include advertisements?

The challenge rules do not prohibit advertising in applications. Please note, however, that if the content of the ads is deemed inappropriate, your submission may be disqualified.

What will the Energy Department and competition Supporters do with my submission?

The Apps for Energy Supporters will have the right to display and promote your submission to the public on the challenge website and partner sites. They will also be allowed to publicize your name in connection with the submission and the challenge.

Can more than one person work on an application and receive credit for it? And if the app wins a prize, will the prize money be split among the creators?

Yes, teams are encouraged. If a team of individuals, a corporation, or an organization is selected as a prize winner, the administrator will divide the prize equally among the team members identified at the time of submission. It will be up to the winning team or organization to reallocate the prize money, if they deem it appropriate.

Can I enter more than one application?

Yes. There is no limit to how many times an eligible person or organization may enter. An individual may also participate on behalf of more than one team, corporation, or nonprofit organization. If you submit two or more applications that are substantially similar, the Competition Administrator reserves the right to disqualify submissions or require you to choose one submission to enter into the competition.

Who is eligible to enter the competition and from what countries?

Apps for Energy is open to legal residents, 13 or older, of the 50 United States (including the District of Columbia), and to legally registered corporations or organizations that are domiciled in the United States.

How do I know if I qualify as a student for the student award?

To be eligible to compete for the Student Awards, Contestants (including all team members if a team submission) must be either currently enrolled in at the time of entry; or have graduated from in the three months prior to entry (1) an elementary or secondary school, or functional equivalent; or (2) an accredited post secondary institution (e.g., university, community college, technical college). Student status will be verified by a transcript before prize money is given.

Why do I have to upload a video?

The Popular Choice award is determined by public voting. Some viewers may not have access to the desktop, web, or mobile platform you used to build your app. A video helps ensure that all users can view and experience your app. The video will also be helpful to the panel of judges. Your video should clearly and concisely show the functionality and purpose of your app. You may create a screencast or use a handheld video camera to make your video, or choose any other method that captures the app’s value and user interface. Your video is not required to have audio, but narration may help viewers understand and appreciate your app.

Does my app need to have store approval prior to the submission deadline?

No, but your app should be submitted to the relevant app store for review by the submission deadline. Submissions requiring approval from a third party, such as an app store, in order to be accessible to the public, must be submitted to such third party or app store for review before the end of the Competition Submission Period. For any software platform that is not easily shared on the web before store approval, such as Apple iPhone, you may submit your working software app using a web framework designed for those platforms (such as PhoneGap), and provide the required link to a video of your working application. DOE may request access to the Application in person or via device UDID provisioning to verify any criteria or functionality of your Application.

Does my application have to be new for this competition?

No, your application does not have to be created after the launch of the competition, provided it meets all of the submission requirements outlined in the Official Rules. Your submission cannot be substantially similar to a prior submission that won a prize at another apps competition.

What if I have questions about the data?

If you have questions about Green Button or Energy Department data, please contact the Energy Department at apps@hq.doe.gov. For questions about the other data sets on the resources page, contact the providing organization. If you’re not sure how to do that, email apps@hq.doe.gov for assistance.

Are there any particular disclaimers I need to include?

Yes, there is standard disclaimer that should be included in such a way that users must read an accept it. It is in the official rules, but here is the full text:

THE MATERIAL EMBODIED IN THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED TO YOU "AS-IS" AND WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS, IMPLIED, OR OTHERWISE, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY OR THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANYONE ELSE FOR ANY DIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OF ANY KIND, OR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, LOSS OF PROFIT, LOSS OF USE, SAVINGS OR REVENUE, OR THE CLAIMS OF THIRD PARTIES, WHETHER OR NOT DOE OR THE U.S. GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH LOSS, HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE POSSESSION, USE, OR PERFORMANCE OF THIS SOFTWARE.

How does public voting work?

Visitors to the site can vote for as many submissions as they like, but no more than once per day for a single submission. At the end of the public voting period, the votes will be tallied and verified to determine the Popular Choice award winners.

How do I follow Apps for Energy and receive updates?

Sign up on the challenge website and click “Follow” to receive email updates. Follow us on Twitter: @Energy.

Why is the Energy Department sponsoring Apps for Energy?

The Energy Department has three goals for the Apps for Energy competition:

  1. Increase the value of Green Button data for residential and commercial utility customers by providing new tools for understanding their electricity usage, taking action, and making better-informed decisions.
  2. Encourage the creation of innovative intellectual property with commercial potential by individuals, startups, and small organizations.
  3. Create an active and energy-focused developer community.

Who can I contact if I have a question about the Apps for Energy Competition?

Email us at apps@hq.doe.gov.