Microsoft is looking to gain national attention for Hohm, which it introduced last summer. It’s unveiled Hohm Score, an online tool that estimates a home’s energy efficiency compares it to other homes in the system, and provides a score for the house (you can also compare cities, zip codes, etc.).
While there’s no score for the white house, you can check out Bill Gates’ house (Hohm score 62 and an estimated annual energy bill of $18,066) and Al Gore’s house (Hohm score 51 annual energy bill of $7971 – this is no longer available on Hohm, or the page is too busy, see image below).
Both seem a bit inaccurate. Gore was reported to have spent $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills in 2006. Of course, since then, Gore said he’s installed 33 solar panels on the roof and dug seven geothermal wells, and says he buys electricity only from renewable resources. So who knows.
“It’s important to note that the average Hohm Score here in the U.S. is a failing grade,” said Troy Batterberry, product unit manager of Microsoft Hohm.
Hohm Scores are calculated by comparing a home’s actual and potential energy efficiency, and is grounded with analytics licensed from Lawrence Berkeley National Labs and statistical data from the Department of Energy. In addition to individual scores, Hohm Scores are available by ZIP code, city and state so anyone can compare a home’s score with others around the country.
The national average Hohm Score comes in at 61, with Hawaii topping the list as having the highest average Hohm Score and with Texas coming in last. Here are the states with the highest and lowest Hohm Score averages:
Highest average Hohm Score
Hawaii – 81
Delaware – 70
Maryland – 70
District of Columbia – 68
New Jersey – 67
Lowest average Hohm Score
47. Arkansas – 53
48. Oklahoma – 52
49. Nevada – 51
50. Tennessee – 51
51. Texas – 51
The national attention could help Microsoft make headway in a crowded field. There are several other companies that offer home energy management applications. Google unveiled Google PowerMeter, a prototype Web application that displays home energy consumption broken down by appliance. The software requires smart meters that provide real-time information to both the utility and the customer. San Mateo, Calif.-based eMeter, a smart grid management software provider, launched its online consumer application, Energy Engage, that enables users to understand the relation between energy consumption, cost and carbon input.
Apple has filed a patent application for a system that relies on HomePlug Powerline Networking, which turns ever power outlet in a building into a conduit for data, as well as audio and video. Apple’s Smart Home Energy Management Dashboard System would feature an illustrative touch-screen display for managing power consumption, including defining power consumption of new processes and representing power costs.