Now you can access information about your energy use while you’re on the go, on your computer or smartphone – giving you more information about how much power you’re using, and when, and opening up new avenues to energy conservation.
That’s the goal of Ontario’s Green Button Initiative.
But what is the Green Button?
It’s an idea that lets electricity users access their usage data from their local power utility.
This isn’t an advancement that is simple to set up as flicking a switch.
Instead, the province has worked with power providers to set up a smart power grid. The Green Button plugs into the high volume of information available with a smart grid through having utilities standardize power usage into a format that can be easily shared.
The Green Button, in other words, is an information resource on how your home is using electricity.
The point of all this is to make the information available for new, digitally-enabled uses, all with the point of conserving energy and better controlling your power usage to help cut costs on your power bill.
With the Green Button information stream made available, there are an increasing number of new options for you to connect to your power usage details. The early stages of the Green Button Initiative is all about background changes to how utilities collect and standardize their customer power information. The exciting stuff happens once this information is freely available for outside parties to use and integrate into new software.
That’s why the province held a contest to see what clever new ways contestants could think up to utilize the Green Button data!
The thinking is, once people can easily see their power usage – broken down by the day – they can make simple lifestyle adjustments to save power, then immediately see how those steps are having a real impact in their electricity usage numbers. This not only encourages conservation, but also will lead to lower energy bills.
Apps developed using Green Button information will let you track this using your smartphone. One app, called Unplug Stuff, gives you advice on how to lower power usage, such as by unplugging TVs when not in use, and then displays your latest electricity-usage statistics to see what impact you’ve made. It’s a great step towards living green and is an easy way to contribute to a healthy environment!