Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog.
Yesterday, President Obama issued a memorandum directing federal agencies to redouble efforts to use renewable energy and manage their energy usage more efficiently and effectively. In addition to setting an ambitious new target for federal agencies to increase their consumption of renewable energy to 20 percent of their total amount of electric energy use by 2020, the memorandum instructs agencies to incorporate the “Green Button” data standard into their energy management practices.
The Green Button Initiative is an industry-led response to a White House call-to-action to provide utility customers with easy and secure access to their own energy usage information in a consumer-friendly and computer-friendly format. Today, 48 utilities and electricity suppliers serving more than 59 million homes and businesses have committed to enable their customers with Green Button access to help them save energy and shrink their bills. Of these, over 42 million household and business customers (reaching well over 100 million Americans) already have access to their Green Button energy data.
Following the President’s direction, the federal government is committing to use the Green Button data standard — an industry-developed, consensus-driven method for accessing and transmitting energy-consumption information — within its own operations and facilities, making it easier for building managers to use innovative analytical tools, apps and services related to energy usage, and helping federal agencies to better manage their own energy consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Specifically, the General Services Administration, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency will create and initiate a pilot to use Green Button at federal facilities. Based on the outcomes of this pilot, these agencies will issue guidance for other facilities to follow suit by, where feasible, incorporating Green Button into reporting, data analytics and automation, and processes in consultation with their local utilities. The end goal will be to enter data into the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager for benchmarking and reduce energy costs and usage across the federal government.
Dozens of electric utilities have already embraced the Green Button data standard, making it easier for customers to securely download and transmit their own energy-usage data. Building on the President’s memorandum issued today, we’re excited by recent decisions by utilities to adopt or further expand their support for Green Button.
Utilities making recent or expanded commitments to Green Button include:
- Consolidated Edison, which has 3.3 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, NY, has expanded the availability of Green Button to all its customers;
- National Grid, serving 3.4 million customers in NY, MA and RI, will expand their pilot program from providing Green Button access to 15,000 customers to nearly all of their customers;
- Xcel Energy, serving 3.4 million customers in CO, MI, MN, NM, ND, SD, TX and WI, will offer Green Button access to its customers;
- Ameren Illinois, serving 1.2 million electric customers in IL, will offer Green Button access to its customers;
- Ameren Missouri, serving 1.2 million electric customers in MO, will offer Green Button access to its customers;
- Portland General Electric, serving 836,000 customers in OR, offers Green Button access to its customers; and
- San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric have begun implementing “Green Button Connect My Data,” an automated and secure way for customers to transfer their energy data to authorized apps and services.
All energy customers deserve easy and secure access to their own energy information in standard digital formats — whether they are residential, commercial, industrial or government energy consumers.
Yesterday’s announcements mark an exciting next step to expand the adoption of the Green Button data standard and further enable households, businesses and federal agencies to use the most innovative apps and services to improve their energy management and achieve sustainability goals.
It’s good for the environment, good for our national security and good for the economy.