I Like It! to Idea Comparing electricity bills on your next apartment hunt
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Comparing electricity bills on your next apartment hunt

One of the most important considerations in an apartment hunt is the comparison of utilities (electricity, water, cable/internet) costs at different apartment units. We propose a way to leverage existing Green Button data and make the comparison of electricity costs at different apartment units more comprehensive and user-friendly. There are two important metrics when comparing between candidate apartments: the total cost of the electricity bill, and the amount of electricity consumed in that apartment. If averaged over several similar apartments in the same building, these two metrics (and especially the latter) can provide a good sense of how efficient heating and cooling systems may be, since they often take up over half of electricity usage during the month. One apartment may cost the average occupant $100 in December in electricity, while an older one with less insulation may cost $140.

For this to be possible, the web-app would have to pre-populate with energy consumption data from apartments across a city. This could be possible by requesting consumption data from individual utility companies, who then pass the request along to their users. Individual users of the app looking to compare apartments and have access to their own Green Button data can submit their data to the app to determine their current energy consumption habits. The web-app would then use that consumption data to determine the amount that an individual would pay in electricity at each apartment of interest. There are two complementary effects happening at the same time. We would request electricity usage data from existing Green Button users at many apartments across the city through their utility company (this information would be kept anonymous to other users, since it would only be used as a point of reference), and users of the app would populate the database with their own information at the same time.

By making electricity consumption data trends more accessible to users, the public can more accurately assess apartments. A parallel effect which may be observed is that buildings which are less energy efficient will be rejected based on this data, creating an incentive for building owners of subpar properties to invest in upgrading their buildings to be more energy efficient.

Sources:

http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_5_6_a

http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/tips-heating-and-cooling

Submitted by 10 months ago

Comments (3)

  1. Moderator

    Cool idea. The City of Chicago has been doing something similar for a few months now. Check out this article which has some details: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-07-03/business/ct-biz-0703-mls-energy-bills-20130703_1_energy-costs-real-estate-agents-home-listings

    10 months ago
    1. angi616 Idea Submitter

      Oh cool. It seems like that's just for buying homes, if I'm not mistaken? I'd be interested to see it expanded to allow potential renters access to this type of information as well.

      10 months ago
  2. Moderator

    Yeah, it would be great to see access to that information be expanded for all types of real estate transactions, including rentals. It would help property owners that invest in efficiency see a return on that investment!

    10 months ago

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