Today marks an exciting moment for the U.S. Energy Department: We’re announcing the winners of our Apps for Energy competition.
Back in April, we challenged the American developer community – from students who code to software programming startups – to build apps that help utility customers make the most of Green Button electricity usage data. At ConnectivityWeek 2012 in Santa Clara, CA, the Department will announce the first group of winning applications, as chosen by our expert panel of judges.
The Apps for Energy competition had a few key goals. The first was to encourage open innovation around Green Button – an open standard for sharing electricity data that is available to millions of utility customers. With Apps for Energy, we challenged developers to leverage the enormous potential of Green Button data by building web and mobile applications that help homeowners and business understand their energy usage and take action, so they can save money by saving energy. As the number of utilities around the country offering Green Button data increases, the importance of these applications will continue to grow.
Equally important is the effort to create a thriving, energy-focused developer community that is committed to using technology to address real-world challenges, like reducing energy waste. Certainly the most significant challenge Apps for Energy developers face is building applications that help consumers easily comprehend their energy data.
The Department is excited with the outcome of Apps for Energy. Developers stepped up to the challenge, submitting more than 50 new applications. From a program that helps commercial builders reduce energy waste to a fun, social game that lets you compare your energy-usage to that of your friends – these applications will help consumers bring their utility data to life. You can take a look at the diverse range of innovative and engaging energy apps by visiting our Apps for Energy submission gallery.
The first round of winning Apps for Energy submissions are:
BEST OVERALL APP GRAND PRIZE: LEAFULLY
Location: Seattle, Washington
This app is the brainchild of Seattle-based team, Timothy Edgar and Nathan Jhaver who describe themselves as “two developers with an idea.” Their app submission, Leafully, helps utility customers visualize their Green Button data as a variety of units, such as the amount of trees needed to offset an individual’s energy usage. Leafully encourages users to set energy savings goals and to share their progress on Facebook.
BEST OVERALL APP SECOND PRIZE: MELON
Location: Washington, DC
DC-based startup Melon describes itself as the first company to utilize Green Button data to simplify the process of obtaining an ENERGY STAR benchmark for commercial buildings. The app uses Green Button to evaluate the energy performance of commercial buildings.
BEST OVERALL APP THIRD PRIZE: VELObill
Location: New York, NY
Zerofootprint's VELObill provides consumers with their entire energy picture: how much they spend on gas, water and electricity, whether their bill has gone up or down, and how they compare to peers. The entire picture is understandable in 30 seconds. In addition, VELObill shows consumers how to save money, who can provide them with help, and offers tools to manage their plan of action.
BEST STUDENT APP GRAND PRIZE: WOTZ
Location: Irvine, CA
The wotz app, submitted by a team of students at the University of California, Irvine, lets users explore and play with Green Button data. The app provides several games based on the "shape" of your data, and provides creative comparisons to illustrate your usage, like how many cheeseburgers worth of energy you used last Tuesday from 5-6 pm.
BEST STUDENT APP SECOND PRIZE: BUDGET IT YOURSELF
Location: Cleveland, OH
The Budget it Yourself app is a collaborative project from a team of students at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art. The app helps users track their energy usage and make energy-savings goals.
Please join me in congratulating all of our Apps for Energy developers – for their drive, creativity and commitment to making a difference.
To share your thoughts and feedback on Apps for Energy – leave us a comment on Facebook or Tweet us (@ENERGY) using #appsforenergy.