Obama Administration Highlights Tools to Manage Electricity Use

January 25, 2012

The Obama Administration announced on January 18 the launch of new online tools that will allow consumers to download household energy use data. These tools, packaged as a website feature called "Green Button," are designed to help households save energy and money.

Two of California's largest utilities—Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) and San Diego Gas & Electric Company—have taken the lead in launching the Green Button as a new feature on their websites, allowing nearly six million households to download their own detailed energy use data. Additional utilities that collectively serve another 11.3 million households plan to make the feature available later this year. See the Green Button page on the PG&E website.

Because Green Button is designed around an open-data standard, it is spurring innovation among website and software developers interested in using that standard to provide novel energy-saving services. The North American Energy Standards Board also plans to make a “startup kit” available to help app developers, students, and others take full advantage of Green Button. Green Button is expected to support interactive thermostats and audits that recommend energy-efficiency retrofit improvements for homes and businesses. DOE also plans to highlight Green Button apps on its "Energy Savers" energy information portal. See the White House press release.