House Democrats release energy app

House Democrats release energy app

With all the work they have in Congress (not passing laws), some have put all that extra time to good use by creating an app.

Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees all U.S. energy sources, have released "eVIZ," short for Energy Visualizer.

(Download this free app here via iTunes App Store.)

"The effects of the way we use energy are costly to our country," says Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) in a statement. "This app helps a citizen visualize the energy use in all states and the effects that are already occurring."

Designed to take you inside America's energy system, the app has three animated experiences: It maps U.S. energy production and consumption; calculates the costs of extreme weather; and calculates fuel economy.

"As more citizens harness the power of apps and tablet devices, Congress has the opportunity and responsibility to present government data and information in a creative way," says Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), currently running for Senator in Massachusetts, in a statement.

By sliding your finger, you can witness decades of U.S. energy production -- including wind, solar, coal and oil -- and you can compare states to find out which are the most energy efficient.

The extreme weather section maps natural disasters that cost $1 billion or more.

And by entering a vehicle's mileage and current price for gas, people can slide along a miles per gallon chart to learn how much money they can save and pollution they can cut based on improved fuel economy.

The project began last year when ranking member Markey directed the Committee's Democratic staff to develop an iPad app that could convey information to members, congressional staff, the public and the press on energy production, consumption and the impacts of extreme weather and climate change.

They created the app with two outside vendors, digital agency Socialbomb, Inc. and design/engineering firm Cousins & Sears, which specializes in data visualization.

Data in the app comes from the publicly available State Energy Data System, the source of the U.S. Energy Information Administration's comprehensive state energy statistics.

This article is reprinted with permission from Sustainable Business. 

Photo of the U.S. Congress Building provided by prameya via Flickr.