Melon, an app that simplifies the process of getting an Energy Star benchmark for a commercial building, was one of the big winners in the USgovernment’s Energy for Apps competition. The Melon app delivers an Energy Star score and suggest next stepsto improve efficiency and reduce waste, once a building managersupplies basic building information and energy use. A Washington,D.C.-based startup developed the app, which won second prize foroverall best app. The US Energy Department-sponsored Energy for Apps contest was launched this spring to challenge software developers to buildapps for mobile phones, computers and tablets based on Green Buttondata, to help customers use less energy and save money.
Green Button is a White House-Energy Department programthat’s pushing for a universal, simple-to-use format toallow electricity customers to access their energy usedata. Green Button was designed around an open standard toencourage innovation among website and software developers. Pacific Gas & Electric was an early adopter and installed thefeature on its website. Since then, a number of utilities andsmart grid vendors have committed to providing Green Button data toits customers. s.
Other winners in the competition: Leafully, the overall grand prize winner, developed an app thathelps utility customers visualize their Green Button data as avariety of units, such as the amount of tress needed to offset anindividual’s energy use. The brainchild of Seattle-based teamTimothy Edgar and Nathan Jhaver, Leafully encourages users to setenergy savings goals and to share their progress on Facebook. Cleantech software and services company Zerofootprint was awardedbest overall third prize for its VELObill app, which makes iteasier for utility customers to view their energy use, gaugewhether it’s high or low and, compare it to that of theirpeers. A team of University of California, Irvine students won the bestoverall student prize for their Wotz app, which lets users exploreand play with Green Button data. Budget It Yourself, a collaborative project from a team of studentsat Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute ofArt, won the best student app second prize.
The app helps userstrack their energy use and make energy-savings goals.
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