‘Apps For Energy’ Winners Hit The Green Button

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced the first round of winners for its “Apps For Energy” competition. The contest asked both student and professional developers of web and mobile applications to submit ideas for apps that would help utility consumers save money by making the most of their “Green Button” electricity usage data.

The Green Button initiative, launched by the Obama administration earlier this year, allows electricity customers to download their household or building energy-use data in a consumer- and computer-friendly format. Developers competing in Apps for Energy created apps that are designed to make the best use of the data that will now be available to more than 31 million customers of the nine participating utilities and electricity suppliers.

image via Apps For Energy

Winner of Best Overall App Grand Prize is Leafully, the brainchild of Seattle-based developers Timothy Edgar and Nathan Jhaver. Leafully (pictured above) allows utility customers to visualize their Green Button data in a variety of different units, such as the amount of trees needed to offset an individual’s energy usage. The app also encourages users to set energy savings goals and to share their progress on Facebook.

Winner of the Best Student App Prize is wotz, an app submitted by a team of students at UC Irvine. Unlike many of the other winners, which allow users to visualize or organize their data in different ways, wotz lets people play games based on the “shape” of their data, and provides creative comparisons to illustrate usage, like how many cheeseburgers worth of energy you used last Tuesday from 5-6 p.m.

The first-round “Apps For Energy” winners were decided by a panel of expert judges, but voting is still open for the Popular Choice awards. Cast a vote for your favorite app here.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog