The environmental impact of electricity varies in real time throughout the day. People want to use cleaner energy, and grid operators want people to reduce demand at peak times. What if there were a way to do both? UseGreenEnergy.Today (http://usegreenenergy.today/) is a fun way to learn how to shift electricity use to times when there's more renewable energy available. This shift has the added benefit of tending to decrease demand during peak hours in some regions like California and New England.
UseGreenEnergy.Today works by combining two of the featured inputs: Green Button Data, and the WattTime Impact API implementation of Green Energy Tracker winner of Contest #1 (http://energychallenge.energy.gov/a/dtd/Green-Energy-Tracker/12606-26122). The web app is intended for users in California (CAISO), New England (ISONE), the Midwest (MISO), and the Mid-Atlantic (PJM), but is accessible to anyone.
First, a user creates a personal energy profile by selecting one of the provided sample Green Button Data sets, which we call "Energy Avatars" (http://usegreenenergy.today/index.php/energy-avatar). The ability to upload your own Green Button Data is coming soon!
Next, we get real-time data about how much electricity was generated from different fuels in the user's region using the WattTime Impact API, and use that data to calculate how much renewable energy was available at the times they used energy. WattTime Impact API (http://api.watttime.org/) is a RESTful JSON API that makes it easy for app developers to build tools like UseGreenEnergy.Today; it was submitted separately to the DOE Apps for Energy Challenge (http://energychallenge.energy.gov/a/dtd/WattTime-Impact-API/53000-26122).
Finally, the avatar's renewable energy usage is turned into a score in "leaves," one leaf for each percent renewable energy for each hour (http://usegreenenergy.today/index.php/ranking). The leaf score is updated daily, and when you get 1000 leaves, you get a tree! By ranking users' leaf scores, users can compare their energy cleanliness and are motivated to improve.
Submitted by team: Jacek Szamrej (VT) and Anna Schneider (CA)