Facebook will soon be launching a new app allowing users to track their energy usage and compare with friends and other users.
The social networking site has teamed up with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Opower to create the app. Opower works with utility providers to give customers better information on their energy usage in order to increase efficiency and decrease energy bills. According to their press release announcing the new partnership, “Leveraging the Facebook platform, the app will enable consumers who choose to participate to benchmark their home’s energy usage against a national average of similar homes, compare their energy use with friends, enter energy-saving competitions, and share tips on how to become more energy efficient…Combining the broad reach of Facebook with Opower’s utility partner network will enable meaningful socially driven energy savings to occur. Furthermore, NRDC will provide environmental expertise while engaging new partners and encouraging consumer participation.”
Techcrunch.com reports that the first utilities to participate when the app is launched in early 2012 will be Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), the City of Palo Alto (Calif.) and Glendale Water & Power (GWP), providing 4 million customers with usage of the app. NRDC predicts a $700 billion cost decrease in the United States alone when the app is complete and available to Opower’s 60 utility partners and Facebook’s 800 million users.
The energy-saving power of this app remains to be seen, and in the meantime many users are still asking Facebook to go green. On the site’s Green on Facebook page, the announcement of the app has drawn comments asking Facebook to ditch coal. One user wrote “And Facebook? still using coal for all those servers you support? Green Facebook by using renewable energy to power your company!”