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The State of Green Business: Sustainability goes app crazy

March 19, 2013

The State of Green Business: Sustainability goes app crazy

As data becoming increasingly available from everything ? buildings, vehicles, transit systems, cash registers and potentially every light fixture, switch, plug and machine ? there’s a growing opportunity to capture it and make it useful for consumers and professionals. Some of it is making its way into application software or more commonly, apps.

The growth of apps mirrors some of sustainability’s other technology trends ? the sharing economy, the smart grid and machine-to-machine communications. Energy, water, waste, toxics, carbon ? the future of all of these things is linked in large part to how, and how well, we can measure, track, monitor and optimize their flows. All are about data and the apps that make it useful.

Sustainability-related apps cover a gamut of topics and audiences ? and professionalism. A random sampling: greenMeter (computes a vehicle’s power and fuel use and evaluates driving to increase efficiency), JouleBug (a social, mobile game that rewards players for reducing energy waste), AirStat.us (a free, daily air quality alert for your city), iRecycle (access to more than 1.5 million ways to dispose of stuff), iGo Vampire Power Calculator (shows how much energy the electronics in your home use and cost), PEV4me (calculates the financial impacts and environmental impacts of driving plug-in electric vehicles), Light Bulb Finder (shows how to switch from conventional light bulbs to energy-saving equivalents with the same fit, style and light quality), and GoodGuide (provides health, environmental and social performance ratings for consumer products).

A number of apps take advantage of the Green Button program, launched in 2012 by California utilities but quickly championed by the White House. It standardizes the delivery of energy data from utilities to enable energy users to analyze and optimize their energy use. Green Button was designed as a catalyst to create an ecosystem for software developers to produce new services and products. Now, dozens of apps exist that allow consumers and businesses to download data and interpret it in a variety of ways.

Read more at GreenBiz.

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