In the quest for sustainability, software company Opower in Arlington, Va. hopes keeping up with the Joneses will keep down energy use. In a partnership with the Natural Resource Defense Council and local utilities, Opower will launch a Facebook app this winter .
The hope is that the app will help people understand their energy consumption. The company sends out detailed direct mailings full of colorful graphs and playful icons, but having an online presence will make consumers think more about their energy use.
"When you show people how they compare with their neighbors, it gives them for the first time an idea of whether they have an addressable savings opportunity," says CEO Dan Yates. He says people are especially influenced by their community.
And as peoples' social networks move online, Yates says the the company is moving there right along with them.
"We’re able now, through a partnership with Facebook, to connect people with their friends and start to make this stuff a little more fun," he says.