Green Button: Enabling Energy Innovation
This article is cross-posted from the Council on Environmental Quality blog
Last year, in response to the Obama Administration’s call to action, 35 utilities and energy providers committed to provide 36 million homes and businesses with their own energy usage information in the consensus, industry-standard Green Button format.
Not only are utilities implementing Green Button Download My Data across the country for homes and businesses to securely download their information, but utilities in California and the Mid-Atlantic are beginning to implement Green Button Connect My Data functionality— making it easier for their customers to securely transfer their own energy usage data to authorized third parties, based on affirmative (opt-in) customer consent and control. These efforts will provide more than 11 million customers with an easy and secure way to automatically and routinely participate in energy saving opportunities.
Adopting the Green Button standard will enable households and businesses to more easily use web and smartphone apps to pick the best rate plan for them; take advantage of customized energy efficiency tips; utilize easy-to-use tools to size and finance rooftop solar panels; and download virtual energy audit software that can cut costs for building owners and help get retrofits started sooner.
Today, we’re excited to see Green Button enable energy innovation through new announcements for the industry-led Green Button Initiative:
- Ecova will take advantage of the Connect My Data platform to save commercial building owners money by offering more targeted energy saving opportunities.
- Solar City is integrating Connect My Data into its sales consultations to help customers assess solar's potential to reduce home energy consumption and monthly electricity bills
- MyEnergy is now able to convert your utility bill into electronic Green Button data for you – almost anywhere in the country.
- WeatherBug-Earth Networks is integrating Connect My Data with its real-time hyper-local weather data to improve load management and save consumers money
- EnerNOC is using Green Button data to quality check their real-time sensor data, and separately, has published a open data set of anonymized energy consumption data from 100 buildings in the Green Button format
- Bidgely is using Connect My Data to offer appliance-level energy consumption insights to consumers
- ChargePoint will use Green Button to report energy consumption data to utilities from electric vehicle charging stations
- Wegowise is now using Green Button data to drive multi-family and commercial building energy efficiency
- With support from the Department of Energy, the Pike Powers Laboratory and Center for Commercialization has launched a Green Button app testing center and the Pecan Street Research Institute will also make the largest open set of disaggregated and anonymized consumer energy use data available in the Green Button format.
Green Button is also adding value in the public sector. In Washington, DC, for example, the local government is working with the utility company Pepco to acquire details on energy usage in local government buildings, in order to identify opportunities to conserve energy, save money, and meet local sustainability goals. The Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program also just launched a new version of the Home Energy Yardstick tool that incorporates a Green Button feature. The Yardstick helps people compare their home’s actual energy performance to other homes.
As energy innovation continues to show promise for growing our economy, protecting privacy remains a priority for the Administration. To that end, DOE is helping to facilitate a multi-stakeholder process with utilities, privacy advocates, and others to develop a code of conduct that will help clarify for consumers and providers how energy usage data should be protected and when it can be shared.
Green Button is part of a comprehensive grid-modernization strategy, and recent estimates indicate that the Administration’s early smart grid investments have generated significant economic benefits for the American public. Investing in a modern grid – and continuing smart partnerships through the Green Button initiative - are important components of our strategy to cut energy waste in half by 2020 - and build a stronger, more resilient, and more competitive economy.
Monisha Shah is Deputy Associate Director for Energy and Climate Change at the White House Council on Environmental Quality
Nick Sinai is Deputy US Chief Technology Officer at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy