Facebook Announces Social Energy App
October 18, 2011

Facebook Announces Social Energy App

In a move designed to help raise awareness about energy consumption, Facebook on Monday announced a new partnership with Opower, a developer of energy-efficiency software, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to create a new social energy application for the social network.

According to CNET reporter Martin LaMonica, the app will be developed by Opower and distributed through Facebook's Green page starting in early 2012. It will allow users to compare their energy usage with both the national average, as well as with their friends and other Facebook members who opt to participate in the program.

LaMonica adds that those wishing to take part in the program will input their electric utility information, selecting to display the information in either dollars or kilowatt hours. They will also be able to form special groups in order to "compete on lowering their energy usage and to share tips, rankings, and participation in the groups," the CNET reporter said in an October 17 article.

"It's not that sexy of a topic. People don't spend a lot of time thinking about their energy use -- so we're really excited to bring this conversation to life," Marcy Scott Lynn, the head of sustainability programs at Facebook, told CNN.com's John D. Sutter.

"Everything you do related to this app will be a choice in terms of whether or not you choose to sign up for it; what you choose to share, if anything; how much of it gets published to your news feed; or whether you share it with your friends or invite your friends to use it," she added.

Sutter notes that the Opower-developed app will include features that will allow users, should they choose to do so, to compare their household energy consumption against a nationwide database reportedly containing millions of homes, and even comparing their usage against people who live in houses of approximately the same size.

Facebook users can also permit the app to automatically upload their energy consumption.

“With more than 800 million participants using Facebook, people have discovered that the platform can be used as a powerful tool for positive change," Lynn said in a statement Monday. "Facebook makes our own energy efficiency a top priority, and we hope to inspire a grand conversation about energy efficiency among the millions of people who use the service every day. We´re excited to help people who use Facebook share and discover their passion for the environment and the small energy efficiency improvements they can make to reduce energy consumption and save money.”

“Most people want to make smart energy choices in their homes, but they just don´t have the tools they need to do it, added NRDC Energy Attorney Brandi Colander. "Access to personal energy use data is one such tool that can make a big difference. It empowers people to use energy more efficiently, which provide the same or better levels of comfort while lowering electric bills, improving service reliability, creating jobs, and reducing pollution. This partnership will provide millions of consumers the information needed to make more informed energy use choices.”


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