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One App That The DOE Is Using To Challenge Households

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Is There A Future For The Smart Grid?

We’ve all heard tales of the promise of the smart grid, of the fantastic insight, control, and energy savings that the next generation of meters and apps will bring to households across America. Google PowerMeter and Microsoft Hohm launched to much fanfare… only to announce recently that both are shuttering due to lack of rapid adoption. It’s clear that a spark is needed.

The Department of Energy’s “Apps for Energy” challenge is trying to change this. In the last month, it has inspired scores of submissions from software developers across the country to build off the DOE’s new “Green Button” standard, which enables customers to access their energy usage data from their utilities. 15 utilities serving 27 million households have committed to using the Green Button.

The spark we need is better integration. For most of these Green Button apps to work well, you have to log in to your utility account and manually download and import your latest energy usage data every time—a hassle that will keep most people from becoming regular users. This is where our own DOE challenge app, Sparkwire, comes in. You can connect any app to your energy usage data by just telling Sparkwire your utility site login once and letting it automatically import your most recent data whenever it’s needed. Sparkwire is designed to grease the gears of the energy app ecosystem, enabling the efficient flow of Green Button energy data from utilities to the many applications that rely on it, and making it easier all of us to enjoy the benefits of the smart grid.

Please vote for Sparkwire (you don’t have to create an account, just sign in with Facebook or Twitter). You can also vote for other apps that Sparkwire will help make viable.

Here is a video of how it works:

All for the Green Button, VOTE

….. as the green future unfolds.

Solar Powered Housing Novel Approach

Monday, June 20th, 2011

In my quest to continue finding items of interest I believe Linda would love to see posted during her absence, I came across the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and it’s Solar Decathlon’s solar power housing submission from Team China.

Solar Powered Housing Simple Affordable

The U.S. DOE “contest” poses the question, “How to design, build and operate solar powered housing” with emphasis on cost effectiveness and energy efficiency, all the while being pleasing to look at and live in.

Team China has stepped up to the plate addressing the affordability question with excellent, potential results.

As you can see by the video, their solar powered housing provides plenty of outdoor living area, collects and filters rainwater for personal use, all the while using energy efficient, super insulating materials. Their solar power housing naturally ventilates itself and is most definitely a “sustainable design.”

team china solar powered housing entry

Now to Get Team China’s Solar Powered Housing to Washington

The next step that is vital to competing will be for Team China to disassemble their six recycled shipping containers and get their entry to Washington. This should be a breeze for their team since, conveniently enough, their solar powered housing Y shape use of shipping containers makes for a super simple shipping solution.

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