The driving force behind Mapawatt is the belief that if energy usage became more transparent, then more people would be inspired to conserve. Luckily Google feels the same way. If you've seen our post on Google PowerMeter and TED 5000 you know that it is possible for people who don't have a utility that has teamed with Google then you can still access their PowerMeter by installing a TED 5000.
This week Google announced on their Google.org blog that they were enabling PowerMeter users to share their data with friends. I feel like Google was reading my mind when they wrote:
You can also share your data with friends or other Google PowerMeter users to get advice on your usage, compare trends or even strike up a friendly competition to see who can save the most. After all, how can you keep up with your friends, the Joneses, when you don't know how much they are consuming?
Members of the Google PowerMeter team routinely compare their energy usage data and share energy saving tips and suggestions with one another.
For instance, by comparing his PowerMeter data with his friend's data during a heat wave, a fellow Googler discovered that his home air-conditioning system was consuming much more energy than his friend's system. The friend lives in the same area and in a similar sized house. By sharing this data, the Googler found out that his air conditioner was malfunctioning, and after making the necessary repairs, was able to reduce the amount he spends on electricity for air conditioning.
Those of use who truly care and get excited about reducing energy consumption live on the fringe right now. Let's face it, most of society cares more about which celebrity/politician is boinking which nobody/societal bum than they do about conservation and sustainability. But with the help of great resources like the Google PowerMeter we can help lead the charge to live more sustainably.
So who wants to share their energy data with us?