Friday, May 28, 2010
Homeowners-We hope you’ve started (or at least considered) jumping on the “green” bandwagon en route to a more energy-efficient home! If not, you need to get on because things are starting to speed up! In my previous blog “Get Green for Going Green” I mentioned how easy it is to pinpoint where you could make improvements in your home to save energy, well, things are getting easier and much more interesting. Last summer, Microsoft Corporation launched a web site (currently in the works) that is geared towards this specific goal. The site, called Hohm, allows users to update info about their homes for example, utility details, size and year built and a score is given based on calculations from the information you’ve provided. Essentially, the more detail you give about your home, the more accurate your home energy score will be. The provided score is within the range of 1-100, 100 being the most energy-efficient possible. These scores can then be compared to the annual energy usage of other homes in your area, or compared on a national scale. In some areas, like Washington and California, users can even hook Hohm up to their utility accounts which will provide a direct feed to the site. Hohm provides users with worthy feedback like energy breakdowns, ways to save, and cost comparison graphs, to name a few. I decided to check out the site for myself, and after entering my home address, Bing produced a satellite view of my house with an estimated score based on the year it was built, it’s size and local comparables. However, I could easily update my “home profile” details because I have an existing windows live id to log on. The only downfall is users must have a windows email address to sign on, so if you don’t, you will need to create one. Soon, Microsoft will be adding real estate data so buyers can scout potential homes to determine their scores before making a purchase. The future of Hohm, says team leader Troy Batterberry, is the ability to feed data to utility companies to help them understand and predict usage and in turn, control costs. One of the pluses of the site is that it’s free to use, at least for now. In the age of technology, people should start taking advantage of such an easy to use online resource, as long as the word gets out. Even if the site doesn’t start prompting consumers to decrease their energy use, the site offers some neat alternatives to computing energy consumption. It also provides users with easy access to their blog and many links to related news articles about greening your home. Check out the site and see for yourself at www.microsoft-hohm.com.