Now you can share more than just your personal status via Facebook. In partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Opower, the Menlo Park-headquartered company debuted a new social energy app today that leverages the Facebook platform, allowing people to benchmark their home’s energy usage against similar homes. People can also enter energy-saving competitions and share tips on how to become more energy efficient.
The application’s concept derives from extensive social science research on human behavior change and energy use. Dating back to NRDC’s Hood River Conservation Project in the 1980s, word-of-mouth proved to be an effective tool in encouraging people to use energy more efficiently. The application’s use of this kind of behavioral science combined with energy information, and Facebook’s global platform for connecting and sharing, has the potential to create a dialogue and action about energy efficiency among hundreds of millions of people.
More than 20 million households within the 16 participating utilities’ territories will be able to take advantage of the app’s “Utility Connect” feature, allowing customers to choose to have their energy use automatically updated each month. PG&E and Palo Alto Utilities are the two local utility companies that are participating.