June 28, 2009

Microsoft App Helps U.S. Consumers to Understand Energy Usage

I have addressed the issue of energy conservation in this blog and I want to share a valuable online application Microsoft Corp. launched on June 24, 2009 "that enables consumers to better understand their energy usage, get recommendations and start saving money. Microsoft Hohm uses advanced analytics licensed from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the United States Department of Energy to provide consumers with personalized energy-saving recommendations. Microsoft Hohm is an easy-to-use tool that helps consumers lower their energy bill and reduce their impact on the environment. The beta application is available at no cost to anyone in the United States with an Internet connection and can be accessed directly by visiting http://www.microsoft-hohm.com."

I agree with Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer, when he said that "technology will play a pivotal role in tackling the global energy issues we currently face." Developing an Internet-based service combined with advanced software demonstrates Microsoft Hohm as an added-value application to "help people track, understand and manage their personal energy usage," explained Mr. Mundie.

Outlined in Microsoft's press release, "Microsoft Hohm provides savings recommendations, which can range from placing new caulking on windows to removing air leaks to installing a programmable thermostat. These recommendations are tailored based on specific circumstances in the consumer’s home including house features, usage patterns and appliances. The savings will vary based on the information shared and the characteristics of consumers’ households. If consumers don’t provide their data, Microsoft Hohm will base its recommendations on local and national averages. Microsoft Hohm will leverage the energy usage data and feedback from its users to refine and improve the accuracy and relevancy of recommendations. In addition, consumers will be able to compare their energy usage with that of others in their area and connect with the Microsoft Hohm community to find referrals and exchange ideas."

Expanding Microsoft's presence in cloud computing, Microsoft Hohm is built on the Windows Azure cloud operating system and leverages Bing search as well as the Microsoft Advertising platform, and is accessible from any computer using a modern browser." Microsoft's partners in launching this innovative service include Puget Sound Energy, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Seattle City Light, and Xcel Energy Inc., with plans to name more partners soon. Here is a video of bloggers sharing their thoughts about Microsoft Hohm:

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