A 2014 Green Button Status Update
Who owns your utility data?
It's been a few years since we addressed the concept of ownership of utility data on our blog. Unfortunately, not much has changed: the question of who has rights to it, the consumer or the utility, still remains. Plus, as a consumer, access to quality information about your utility usage is not guaranteed. In cases where it is, getting hold of it can be a hassle, and sharing your usage info with a third party can get even more complicated. With data at the core of our business, this is something we're always thinking about at WegoWise.
What is Green Button?
Fortunately for some, the Green Button initiative has alleviated this dearth of access for a portion of the country. This is important because the simple concept of consumers having access to better utility information has been shown to reduce consumption by 5-15%, not to mention the savings that can be achieved through smart upgrades to our buildings guided by quality usage data.
Green Button Initiative is a collective commitment made by utility providers to provide their customers with clear, accurate data in an easy to use format—with the click of a virtual green button. Currently, more than 35 utilities have signed on to the initiative, with more to come. You can see a list of them here, along with the energy firms who, including WegoWise, have committed to including the data in their analytics.
A Presidential Memorandum in 2011 was the starting point for Green Button and the White House's Climate Action Plan has contributed to its progress. The federal government has remained committed: most recently, the General Services Administration announced that it will include Green Button in it's energy reduction plan by implementing its use throughout the federal government.
Are we there yet?
Not yet. Even with dozens of utilities participating and the backing of the federal government, Green Button still has a lot of ground to cover. Presently, 43 million households and businesses have access to Green Button data in some form, and although this is a significant piece of the country, buildings included in this figure likely have one of their utilities covered, but not all. So we're still a long way from universal access to usage data for the variety of energy types American buildings employ. However, changing the way an industry behaves is no small task, and Green Button has come quite a ways over just a few years. Here at Wego, we'll be watching it closely!