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Brandi Colander’s Blog

Compare, Share and Compete!

Brandi Colander

Posted April 3, 2012

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In partnership with Facebook  and Opower, today NRDC launched an application (app) that enables people to share and compare their energy use and – even better – take easy steps to cut their home energy costs.

Energy efficiency is a pivotal initiative here at NRDC – we have over thirty years of experience working with utilities and regulators to scale up energy efficiency targets and metrics.  So you can see why we’re excited about the opportunity to bring a practical application to market that will enhance people’s understanding of home energy costs in a user friendly way.

In October, we announced the “soft launch” of this partnership and the opportunity to plug into the power of social networking. After months of testing the application, I am very excited about our ability to bring this to a larger audience!  Now, you can share information online with friends, in close to real time, get tips on how to make your home more energy efficient, and see how you measure up to comparable homes.  By doing this, you’ll will be more aware and engaged in what you consume…all while saving a few dollars!

Highlights of the application’s initial features include:

•   Compare Energy Use to Similar Homes:  People will be able to benchmark their home energy use against a national database of millions of homes. All benchmarking will be done on an aggregate level, ensuring complete data privacy.

•   Compare Energy Use Among Friends:  People will be able to invite friends to compare their energy use against their own, show how energy efficient they are, and share tips on how to improve.

•   Publish Conversations About Energy to the Facebook Newsfeed: People will be able to share information about their energy use, rank, group participation, and tips they've completed.

•   Group Development – Cooperation and Competition:  Communities of people will be able to form teams to help each other achieve collective goals, as well as compete against other groups. Teams will be rewarded and incentivized by their utility or other network partners.

•   Automatically Import Energy Data:  Customers of participating utilities will be able to import their energy data into the application automatically. Customers from utilities that are not participating will also have the option to input their energy usage into the app manually.

What is unique about this tool is the deliberate design around behavioral trends; the app allows users to compete with friends to drive down their consumption. Stanford University’s Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, under the instruction of Professor Matthew Harding, will serve as independent evaluators of the impact that this application has on behavioral consumption practices.

While anyone-from anywhere-can utilize this application manually right now, with today’s launch, over 20 million households within the 16 participating utilities’ territories can to elect to take advantage of the app’s “Utility Connect” feature, automatically uploading their energy use to each month.

These utilities and energy providers include:

  • Austin Utilities (Minnesota)
  • Burbank Water & Power
  • ComEd
  • Connexus Energy
  • Consumers Energy
  • Direct Energy (coming soon in 2012)
  • Glendale Water & Power
  • Loveland Water and Power
  • National Grid (New York and Massachusetts)
  • New Jersey Natural Gas (coming in 2012)
  • Owatonna Public Utilities
  • Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  • City of Palo Alto Utilities
  • PPL Electric Utilities Corp.
  • Rochester Public Utilities
  • Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC

We look forward to even more utilities joining this initiative and continued enhancements to the application in the upcoming months.

NRDC is excited about the launch of this tool because this app empowers customers. No longer are you left guessing at the end of the month how much energy you’ve used and how much you owe. I hope you’ll log-in and challenge yourself to compare, share and compete! Visit to join today!

To view our press release, please visit:

For more information on NRDC’s work on energy efficiency, please visit:


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