Microsoft Hohm Lets Users Compare Energy Use with Neighbors

Microsoft Hohm Lets Users Compare Energy Use with Neighbors

The Hohm website, Microsoft's home energy management application, now provides users with energy efficiency scores for their properties that can be compared with scores for neighbors and households elsewhere in the country.

Microsoft announced the new function of its free program this week and said it can provide scores for 60 million homes in the U.S. Working with real estate data, the tool operates using advanced analytics licensed from Lawrence Berkeley National Labs and statistical data from the Department of Energy.

Hohm, launched last June, is Microsoft's bid to join the array of offerings that enable home owners to gauge their energy use with the help of dashboards and other tools -- and ultimately reduce consumption.

Increasingly, such tools are providing users with ways to compare their use against that of others, which can be an effective motivator for changing behavior.

Users can get their Hohm Score by going to www.microsoft-hohm.com and typing in their address. Energy efficiency scores range from 1 to 100 with 100 being ideal. The national average is 61. The chart from Microsoft below shows state averages -- Hawaii has the highest and Texas, the lowest.

The tool provides a score for estimated energy efficiency for the address entered, the average for the zip code, estimated potential savings in energy costs and a breakdown of estimated current consumption.

Microsoft envisions its Hohm website as a pathway for users to eventually tap into the smart grid. Although the scoring program is now widely available, only residents in some parts of Washington, California and the Midwest can currently hook up Hohm to their utilities to provide more accurate information.

"The Hohm Score is the first step in helping us all make smarter decisions about our home energy use," Troy Batterberry, product unit manager of Microsoft Hohm, said in statement. "If each of the 60 million households improved their Hohm Score by five points, collectively that would equal an estimated $8 billion in savings a year."

Image CC licensed by Flickr user lunchtimemama