Below are some screen shots of the Mapawatt map tool that we are almost finished developing.
The house icons indicate registered users. Different color houses represent different types of homes - i.e. blue for townhome, red for single family, light blue for apartment, etc. My home is represented by the dark blue icon. Let's say I want to compare with my friend living in Peachtree City, GA. I would find his house and then click on it (the mouse click is represented by the green circle).
A window pops up with the type of home, square feet, and what his home is made of. I can then click "Compare your usage" to see how his energy and water usage compares to mine.
I can then toggle the comparison based on the year and type of energy being used (electricity, natural gas, heating oil, solar pv, etc.). By comparing our energy and water usage, hopefully we can better understand what the other is doing to conserve and offer up tips on how we can both improve (with the dialog taking place in the Mapawatt Community).
When comparing energy and water consumption with others, it is important to take into account where each of you live. For instance, if you live in Miami and you have a cousin in Maine, your energy bills will probably be much lower in the winter (you have almost no heating, he has a lot). But your energy bills in the summer will likely be much higher (he just has to open the windows to stay cool, you need a bunch of air conditioning!).
The fact that different regions of the country (and world) use resources in different ways is why the Mapawatt Map tool is so important for energy and water comparisons! Please send an email to email@example.com if you would like to be added to the beta testers list and remember to vote for us on the GE Ecomagination Challenge!