Energy efficiency competition drives down utility bills

Facebook has helped bring digital interactions to the forefront of all communication practices. It has also allowed friends and family members to get a look into the personal lives of those with whom they are associated. Now, an energy company is attempting to seize upon that aspect of social media by using those platforms to encourage competition involving energy use.

The concept of using competition to increase home energy efficiency rates is not new – just last week, Duke Energy announced a program that would allow Ohio homeowners to see the energy use of their neighbors, while college dormitories throughout the United States have used "energy use wars" to help drive down total energy consumption across entire campuses.

Energy information software provider Opower just released its social energy application through Facebook, which will allow consumers who receive power from 16 different utility companies to have their energy use information published on the social media platform.

Their Facebook friends will be able to see and compare energy use rates, so the company is hopeful its users will begin to lower their consumption. Opower will also provide users with helpful tips on how to reduce their utility bills.

"The level of enthusiasm we're seeing from people who are excited about getting better context about their energy use, and share – even brag – about their energy efficiency within their social networks is inspiring," Opower CEO Dan Yates said in a statement.

With Earth Day – April 22 – right around the corner, homeowners may want to use that date as a deadline to begin saving energy in their homes. To get a leg up on the competition, homeowners may even want to request that a D.C. home inspector perform an energy audit, so they will know the exact areas in which they can easily improve their energy use.