Green Button Initiative - Empowering the Customer
An Industry-Led, Customer Centric Initiative
Green Button is an industry-led initiative stemming from a White House call-to-action for utility providers to provide their customers with easy access to their energy usage data in a standardized, secure and user-friendly electronic format. Simply put, the idea is to help electricity customers securely download their energy usage information in a format that’s easy to understand, so they can make informed decisions about their billing and usage.
The Green Button effort was created with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), the Utility Communications Architecture International Users Group (UCAIug) and the White House.
While the Green Button data standard was developed in the United States, it is now recognized globally as the energy industry's data-usage standard for securely accessing and sharing home and building energy-consumption information. The Green Button standard enables utilities to provide customers with three types of usage data: electricity, natural gas, and water. By making customers' data available via simple and secure methods, utilities and service providers are serving their customers with improved services to meet the rapidly growing market demand for data. Additionally, this helps to ensure customer privacy, meet regulatory requirements, and provide data for energy-efficiency and public-purpose or community programs.
A Win-Win for All
This initiative is important because it creates awareness in consumers to change behav¬iors assoc¬iated with high usage. To do that, they need access to their real-time and historic consumption data. Once they have access, they can take corrective measures and preventive actions to reduce their overall usage and deter¬mine if solar might be right for them. Further, apart from the consumer’s perspective, there is a positive societal and environ¬mental impact, because climate-change mitiga¬tion starts from measuring every individual’s impact and contribution. The small behavioral changes that can be induced through the Green Button initiative will go a long way in treading the path of global sustainability.
Armed with this energy usage information, consumers can use a growing array of new web and smartphone applications to make more informed energy decisions with the help of real-time data. Technologies such as cloud, mobile, big data and analytics can be coupled with this usage database to help homeowners, renters, business owners and others reach their goals—whether the goal is to install solar, go “net-zero,” save peak energy costs in regions with time-of-use pricing, understand how one’s household consumption in a zip compares to others, or simply to improve energy use efficiency and reduce environmental footprints.
The Green Button standard ensures customer privacy and secure transmission of data; providing assurance to customers and helping utilities and service providers to meet regulatory requirements. Because of its simplicity and ease of adoption, Green Button is well on its way to becoming the common standard of energy usage information for the energy sector. Although it’s impossible to predict what creative applications will emerge in the coming years, a number of uses are already becoming popular. Utilities are using Green Button for customer engagement programs and efficiency programs. Residential, commercial, and industrial consumers are using Green Button for virtual energy audits, benchmarking resource usage, and validating efficiency goals. Other sectors, including gas and water, are also looking at implementing Green Button.