In a joint letter issued to the White House, a number of prominent companies have asked for a summit on ways to change energy use at home through simple behavioral changes and the implementation of new technologies – technologies that the companies involved would like the chance to showcase.
“We are writing to ask that your Administration adopt the goal of giving every household and business access to timely, useful and actionable information on their energy use. By giving people the ability to monitor and manage their energy consumption, for instance, via their computers, phones or other devices, we can unleash the forces of innovation in homes and businesses. At the same time, we can harness the power of millions of people to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and save consumers billions of dollars.” Signatories include Best Buy, Comcast, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Honeywell, Intel, Nokia, and Verizon.
The letter requests that the American consumer be given better access to their energy consumption records, including pricing plans and information on the available sources of energy. Google recently introduced a free online tool, the PowerMonitor, that is available now in certain geographic areas.
“Studies and experience show that when people have access to direct feedback on their electricity use, they can achieve significant savings through simple behavioral changes. Investments in home energy efficiency, along with automating appliances and other devices, can lead to even greater savings. These savings could be substantial when added up: if all U.S. households saved 15 percent on their energy use by 2020, for example, the greenhouse gas savings would be equivalent to taking 35 million cars off the road and would save consumers $46 billion on their energy bills, or $360 per customer each year,” according to the letter.
Obama has repeatedly praised energy efficient housing, going so far as to offer tax rebates on properly weatherized houses designed to be more energy efficient.