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Green Button Momentum

To make it easier for business and consumers to save energy and money, we need to make it easier for them to understand how they use energy.

To make it easier for business and consumers to save energy and money, we need to make it easier for them to understand how they use energy. That is why the Obama Administration partnered with the utility industry and issued a challenge to them to make it easier for electricity customers to get secure online access to their own household or building energy-use in a consumer- and computer-friendly format, called “Green Button.”

In addition to empowering consumers and business to make informed decisions, Green Button data can fuel new products and services.  By putting customers in control of their own energy data, they can choose which private sector tools and services can help them manage or upgrade their own household or building energy performance.

Today, responding to a call by President Obama to help families and businesses take better control of their energy bills, a number of companies announced their commitment to use the Green Button standard in their products.  These companies include:

These companies join a growing universe of companies that have already announced they are developing applications or services for business, consumers, and utilities using the Green Button industry standard.

That means over 31 million households and businesses will be able to use web and smartphone apps to pick the best rate plan for them; take advantage of customized energy efficiency tips; utilize easy-to-use tools to size and finance rooftop solar panels; and better use virtual energy audit software that can cut costs for building owners and help get energy upgrades started sooner.

As private-sector commitments continue to grow, the Department of Energy is doing its part to spur options for consumers.  The Department of Energy announced yesterday the consumer choice winners of it first Apps for Energy contest, based on the Green Button standard, to help consumers gain new insights, take action, and save on their utility bills.

The Better Buildings Initiative – another Administration-inspired, industry-driven effort – also marked a milestone today. The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced its commitment to be a Better Buildings Challenge Utility Ally. Through the Better Buildings Challenge, PG&E will provide commercial building energy efficiency multi-measure programs that will reach 30 million square feet of the commercial customer class by 2015. The commitment from PG&E builds on those of existing challenge partners and allies which include over 300 manufacturing facilities, represent 1.6 billion square feet of real estate and comprise $2 billion in financing.

Nancy Sutley is the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Todd Park is the US Chief Technology Officer.