Initiatives like Green Button data are providing consumers more and more options for monitoring and improving their energy usage. However, most applications require users to take initiative and log-in each time they use it. What if there were a simple, no-thought reminder about your energy consumption?

Introducing SnapWatt, the simplest way to monitor your home's energy consumption. With SnapWatt, consumers securely connect their Green Button information once and receive one text message each day summarizing their energy usage. Though it may sound simple, one study found that SMS messages communicating timely information about energy consumption reduced total annual electricity usage by about 3% (Gleerup, Larsen, Leth-Petersen, Togeby).

At the moment, the text message details how much energy was consumed for a given time frame, how much it cost, and whether usage increased or decreased. The last thing we want is for this to be annoying; users can edit the messaging frequency and timing and opt-out as desired.

Given the time constraints of the Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge, our team was only able to implement a basic proof of concept but we’re excited about expanding SnapWatt based on user feedback and suggestions. Some features we’re considering include:

  • A ‘tip of the day’ relevant to a home’s consumption pattern
  • Comparisons to similar homes in your area
  • The ability to set units to be more relevant and meaningful
  • Points for decreasing your consumption
  • Goal setting and monitoring
  • Projections for consumption and costs over a longer time frame We’d like to thank BEWorks for some of these ideas. Their presentation about applying behavioral economics to energy consumption was a great inspiration.

SnapWatt may be simple but we see it as the first step in monitoring and improving a home’s energy usage. In a fast-paced and attention-constrained world, simple may be all we need to make a difference.

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