In September 2011, former White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra challenged the utility industry to make energy data more available to their customers, using one standard all providers could agree upon. A standard has been developed and is called Green Button. It provides millions of utility customers with easy access to a downloadable copy of their electricity usage data. By May 2012, the number of customers who can expect access to Green Button data grew to almost 31 million.
It seems like Green Button is a good idea, but still needs some improvement before it catches on. The fact that each consumer needs to download a static file, then upload it to a central repository is a bit of a pain that will slow adoption. Also a roadblock is the fact that the whole process will need to be repeated to view up-to-date info as the months go on. The iPhone and the Droid have conditioned consumers to interact with increasingly complex data, but they have come to expect the interaction to be intuitive: sign in once and it “just works” without further meddling needed. A feature called Green Button Connect promises to bridge some of this gap. Once Green Button incorporates this additional functionality, it will be ready for broader appeal and have a better chance at making an impact in lowering energy consumption.
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