Uncle Sam is challenging software developers to create an app that allows consumers to access information about their personal energy usage – and they’re offering a $100,000 prize to the winner.
As a part of their continuing “Green Button” initiative, The United States Department of Energy is sponsoring an “Apps for Energy” contest, offering a $100,000 prize for the best new apps that help utility customers make the most of their Green Button electricity usage data. Developers who compete in the Apps for Energy challenge will get the opportunity to significantly impact the way millions of Americans think about and utilize their electricity usage data.
WHAT IS GREEN BUTTON?
What is a Green Button? Green Button is an industry led effort to provide utility customers with easy access to their energy usage data and make more informed energy decisions. Green Button enables customers to securely download their own energy usage information from their utility or electricity supplier via a “Green Button” on a utility company’s website.
Green Button Data has several uses:
- it can deliver customized energy-efficiency tips to save money on heating and cooling costs;
- determine the size and effectiveness of rooftop solar panels;
- and conduct virtual energy audits that can cut costs for building owners and provide decision making tools to facilitate energy efficient retrofits.
For the Apps for Energy contest, developers will mashup Green Button data with other public data sources to create innovative, energy-focused apps that are easy for consumers to access and use. Submissions can be any kind of software application broadly available to the public — including apps for the web, personal computers, and mobile devices.
Apps for energy: RULES
According to the rules, contestants must provide access to the app, a detailed description of the app, instructions on how to install and operate the app, system requirements required to run the app, a video of the app being used and at least one photograph of the app being used.
The entries will be judged by several criteria including the app’s potential impact to help users make informed decisions about their electricity use, its creativity and innovation, and implementation. The app will be rated on its user experience and interactive capabilities with preference given to applications that are easily accessible to a range of consumers, including those with disabilities. Each submission must make use of Green Button electricity usage data. Contestants can combine these data with other data sets, but if it doesn’t use Green Button data, it will be disqualified.
Interestingly, the rules state that there must be no Department of Energy logo – The app cannot use DOE’s logo or official seal in the submission, nor can it claim a DOE endorsement.
The Apps for Energy contest began on April 5, 2012 and is open only to United States citizens (who are at least 13 years of age) or private entities that are incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business within the United States. The deadline for submissions is May 15, 2012 at 8:00 PM ET. Following the close of submissions, an internal review and public vote will take place, with the final winners being announced on May 22.
SERVE THE PUBLIC – AND WIN A HUNDRED GRAND
The Apps for Energy competition is a unique and inventive way for the US government to help consumers make informed energy choices and manage their energy use. It presents the opportunity for a developer to create an app that benefits the public and make a hundred grand. If you’re a software developer interested in participating in the Apps for Energy competition, visit appsforenergy.challenge.gov to sign up and get more detailed information about the contest.