May 26, 2010

Microsoft Ramps Up “˜Hohm’ Energy Website

Microsoft Corp. is beefing up a Web site that looks to help people monitor their home energy use and pinpoint ways to cut costs.

The site launched last summer and allows people to enter details about their home, such as when it was built and what kind of heating system and thermostat it has.

Microsoft Hohm can also hook up with a user's utility accounts, though so far this only works in some areas of Washington, California and the Midwest.  Microsoft monitors year round weather conditions and other factors using its own software and research from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to come up with an estimate of how much energy a home uses.

The more data that is placed into the system, the more accurate the estimates come out for how someone could save.

Microsoft sais it was adding real estate to its calculations on Wednesday and assigning a Hohm score to most houses in the U.S., that way people can compare their home to their neighbors or scout one they are thinking about buying. 

Troy Batterberry, who leads the Hohm team at Microsoft, told the Associated Press (AP) that people could use the site to see their energy costs broken down in much finer detail.

He said he hopes Hohm will be part of a "smart grid."  The giant software company could feed aggregated data to power companies to help them understand and predict usage.

Microsoft said that it hopes Hohm will eventually draw revenue from targeted ads on the site and by charging utilities for data about customers' energy usage.


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