Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Energy Innovation: Green Button Initiative Empowering Americans to Save Energy and Money

February 25, 2015

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More than 100 energy leaders and innovators recently gathered for a Green Button event in San Diego to share best practices and identify new applications, tools, and services that aim to help homeowners and businesses save energy and money.  | National Institute of Standards and Technology and Energy Department photo

More than 100 energy leaders and innovators recently gathered for a Green Button event in San Diego to share best practices and identify new applications, tools, and services that aim to help homeowners and businesses save energy and money. | National Institute of Standards and Technology and Energy Department photo

Saving energy benefits both the environment and your wallet. However, before determining which energy-saving strategies and solutions to implement, it’s important to first understand how much energy you consume on a day-to-day basis. To empower residents to make well-informed energy decisions, private and public sector organizations united to establish the Green Button initiative.

This industry-led effort is response to a White House call-to-action: to provide electricity customers with easy access to real-time energy usage data in an easy-to-use format. Since its creation in 2012, Green Button has seen explosive growth and now more than 100 million North Americans can access their own energy consumption data in a standardized format. This information helps consumers identify new ways to manage and upgrade household and building energy performance.

Earlier this month, 120 energy leaders and innovators gathered in San Diego for “The Birth of the Green Button Ecosystem” to share best practices and identify new Green Button applications, tools, and services that can help homeowners and businesses save energy. Co-sponsored by the Energy Department, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, and private-sector partners, the event featured utilities, software developers, industry vendors, and entrepreneurs in the energy sector working with Green Button. 

Here are just a few highlights:

  • U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith delivered video-taped remarks about how Green Button’s technical infrastructure is ready for American consumers and businesses to use, emphasizing the importance of similar efforts that technologically connect more Americans with business opportunities and high-paying jobs from innovation.
  • Former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States Nick Sinai, now of the Harvard Kennedy School, and California Public Utilities Commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval highlighted recent achievements, such as the recent launch of a new industry consortium: the Green Button Alliance. Such industry-led efforts will make it easier for entrepreneurs and software developers to make products that work across many utilities.
  • Representatives from C3 Energy and Schneider Electric discussed how their companies are incorporating the Green Button standard into their products and business strategy. London Hydro demonstrated its use of Green Button to integrate consumer solutions into one place for buildings efficiency, energy tracking, and real-time asset management.

In addition to the speakers, the event showcased several innovative apps that were created by some of America’s best and brightest developers using Green Button standards and open data for solar, energy efficiency, grid control, grid reliability and integration with renewables. A few examples are below:

  • Smart Utility Systems
  • People Power
  • WeatherBug Home
  • Center for Sustainable Energy
  • PowWow Energy

These fun, interactive apps allow you to compete on Facebook with your friends to see who can save the most energy, conduct virtual energy audits, and learn how to lower utility bills for your usage pattern. All of these apps, and the overall Green Button initiative, enable citizens to measure how much energy they use and determine how to achieve optimal savings.

Learn more about the Green Button initiative and discover if your utility yet offers Green Button for your energy bill: greenbuttondata.org. Stay tuned for more news on the Energy Department open data events, including the spring Energy Roundtable and summer 2015 Energy Datapalooza!