Facebook app promotes energy conservation with peer pressure

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If simple common sense can’t curb energy usage, perhaps a little peer pressure from Facebook friends will do the trick.

Facebook has joined forces with energy efficiency startup Opower and the National Resources Defense Council to release a social energy application that encourages people to track, and ultimately reduce, energy use in the home.

The simple application invites Facebook members to log in and automatically track monthly energy use by connecting the app to their utility account. The friendly, non-threatening conservation-themed app encourages competition, highlights rankings among friends and groups, provides national benchmarks, and offers energy-saving tips.

“People can connect their utility account directly to the app to track progress and share energy saving accomplishments with friends,” Facebook said in a memo on the news.

The social network estimates that it can reach 20 million households at launch, although not all utility providers (SDG&E, for one) are supported.

Facebook’s app partner, Opower, has been in the business of consumerizing energy use data since 2007. The Arlington, VA-based company has raised upwards of $65 million in venture funding, including a $50 million round from Accel and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

We appreciate the gesture, but we’re not yet sold on the idea of Facebook and gamification tactics making a sizable dent in energy use. We’re open to being proven wrong, of course. What say you, Dear Reader?

Photo credit: Jake Mates/Flickr


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