It’s been almost a year since I blogged about Microsoft Hohm, a free online application that allows homeowners to take a break from rearranging their Netflix queues and updating their Facebook statuses to focus on a more meaningful variety of online micromanagement: the monitoring of household energy consumption.
It’s a nifty app certainly worth checking out, especially now that a competitive edge has been added to the whole affair. Earlier today, Microsoft announced a new feature, Hohm Scores, where more than 60 million U.S. homeowners can type in their street address and instantly view an estimated “score” that displays how their home stacks up against other’s in their neighborhood or state in terms of energy efficiency.
I’ve blogged numerous times before about how the whole “keeping up with the Johnsons” aspect of home energy efficiency is often the one thing that can push reluctant folks into action. The Smiths are spending $60 less on their monthly electric bills than we are?! It’s time to make some changes around here! Hohm Scores is the ideal tab-keeping tool for this.
Again, Hohm Scores — ranking 1 through 100, 100 being the most efficient — are estimates based on three sources: public record information about a home’s size, age, location; data on an area’s typical weather patterns, average utility bills, and other info; and advanced analytics licensed from the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory and U.S. Department of Energy. A more detailed Hohm Score can be obtained if a user submits information about household utility bills and energy usage. From there, users can receive personalized tips on how to improve their Hohm Score and save money.
Says Troy Batterberry, general manager of Microsoft Hohm:
The big deal here is that we built the Hohm Score to answer a simple question: Am I an energy hog or an energy miser? Now you can take a look at your own home’s score — or any home across the country — and see how you compare.
How’d I do? Info on my multi-unit apartment building (tricky since I’m a renter in a dense urban area) wasn’t available, but the average score in my ZIPcode was 63. Since my parents are good sports about going green, I thought I’d check to see how they rank. They scored slightly above the national average and the average for their ZIPcode with a score of 65 — not too shabby. To add a bit of competitive edge, I checked in to see how parents’ siblings, in Dallas and in Boise, scored. Sorry to say, dearest aunts and uncles, Mom and Dad have you beat: based on Hohm estimates, my Dallas relatives scored a 57 and the Boise branch of my family came up with a Hohm Score of 61.
Head on over to Microsoft Hohm and plug in your own address. How’d you — and your city — score? Any surprises?