Facebook, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Opower have announced a partnership to bring energy an energy management application to the social media environment. On Facebook, consumers will be able to benchmark their home’s energy use against the national average, against their friends, participate in energy saving contests, and engage in conversation regarding energy efficiency.
According to the NRDC, improvements in energy efficiency have the potential to deliver more than $700 billion in cost savings in the U.S. alone. Motivating consumers to take action—something that has traditionally been a challenge—is the key. Studies show that the average U.S. consumer spends about six minutes per year thinking about their energy. With time connected to social networks and engagement with social media continuing to rise, this partnership has the potential to bring these issues to the forefront of the consumer’s daily routine.
Initial features scheduled for the application are follows:
Compare Energy Use to Similar Homes: People will be able to benchmark their home energy use against a national database of millions of homes. All benchmarking will be done on an aggregate level, ensuring complete data privacy.
Compare Energy Use Among Friends: People will be able to invite friends to compare their energy use against their own, show how energy efficient they are, and share tips on how to improve. The Friend Comparison Feature is a social version of Opower's Neighbor Comparison module, which features prominently in its successful nationwide Home Energy Reporting programs.
Publish Conversations About Energy to the Facebook Newsfeed: People will be able to share information about their energy use, rank, group participation, and tips.
Group Development – Cooperation and Competition: Communities of people will be able to form teams to help each other achieve collective goals, as well as compete against other groups. Teams will be rewarded and incentivized by their utility or other network partners.
Automatically Import Energy Data: Customers of participating utilities will be able to import their energy data into the application automatically, if they so choose. (Customers from utilities that are not participating will also have the option to input their energy usage into the app manually.)