We already know what Facebook (News - Alert) can do: it can keep you connected, it can keep you informed, it can keep you entertained.
But can it keep you green? It would like to, apparently.
The social networking giant announced a new feature yesterday: an app that was designed to help you “live green” by practicing energy savings in your home. Essentially, you'll be able to track your energy use and compare your data with that of other users of the app. (Making energy savings a sort of “competition.”) It will be complete and offered to Facebook users next year.
Facebook created the “Green on Facebook” app in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Opower, a home energy usage analysis company. Opower, in turn, has partnered with a number of utility companies to help homeowners more accurately measure how much energy they use via smart metering technology.
Wrote Facebook about the announcement, “With more than 500 million people around the world using Facebook, our greatest opportunity to affect environmental change is through the power and reach of our platform. We are working to develop programs and initiatives that can enable and empower people on Facebook to get engaged in environmental issues and solutions. By enabling millions of people from diverse backgrounds to easily connect and share, Facebook can play a unique role in promoting efforts to achieve a sustainable future.”
The drive behind the idea is using peer pressure to help get people to conserve energy. It worked, apparently, with recycling.
Opower's CEO Alex Laskey told Wired that peer pressure has led to greater community recycling. Though it started with more eco-conscious people, it quickly spread to the wider population because no one wanted to be seen by neighbors without a recycling box or bag outside their homes. As most of the population follows fashion, trend and cues from peers, so too do households.
Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell