It’s getting easier to track your home or business energy use and find ways to reduce your energy consumption and costs.
Yes, there’s an app for this. In fact, there are now many apps, and you don’t have to scramble to find them. You can browse for the best ones at the US Department of Energy’s Apps for Energy website.
The website features the energy apps that judges and online viewers found to be the top in their class during a recent DOE-sponsored challenge. This winners list provides you, the energy consumer, with a shortcut to finding apps that work.
For instance, if you’re looking to detail and reduce the energy footprint of any building, you may want to check out Leafully, the grand prize winner, or second place finisher Melon: Energy Star Green Button Benchmark.
Leafully helps people break down energy into tangible units, by talking about how many trees it would take to supply the energy used. It’s an intense, but sometimes playful program (cow farts are mentioned).
Melon is aimed more at the commercial building owner, and after providing a clear picture of a building’s energy use, it compares it with others in the Energy Star database through a new Green Button connection. After benchmarking against others, Melon cranks out an Energy Star rating for the building ,which owners can use as a marketing tool.
A better than average rating can make a property more appealing to potential tenants or renters, once they realize that they’ll spend less on utilities at that building.
Homeowners who want to clarify their energy profile also can find robust apps at Apps for Energy.
ZeroFootPrint’s “VELOBill: The Utility Bill of the Future,” which won the People’s Choice Award, breaks out electricity, natural gas and water use into graphic displays that are easy to read. (See video above.)
As with Melon’s app, this info can be compared to larger data pools, so homeowners can find out if their usage is low, medium or high compared to others in their area.
Once you know how you compare, you can zoom in on times when your electricity, gas or water use is out of whack. Then, if you want to make changes, VELOBill will connect you with home contractors who can help you retrofit and reduce your home’s energy consumption.
The apps featured at Apps for Energy are available on various electronic devices, phones, tablets and desktop computers, and some are still in development and will be adding features.