Apps for Energy II

Black Sheep


Black Sheep is an iOS application that helps home buyers find energy efficient homes by combining real estate listings with energy efficiency and energy consumption data. It also motivates homeowners to get Home Energy Score assessments, which helps populate the Department of Energy’s Home Energy Score database and encourages home owners to improve their energy efficiency.


Black sheep allows the user to search for homes by location, showing each home on a map with a memorable sheep icon. The icon shows how each home’s Home Energy Score compares to its peers, ranging from an all-black sheep for the lowest 20% of Home Energy Scores to all white for the highest 20%. The Home Energy Score is like a Miles Per Gallon rating for a home: “white sheep” stand out from the flock by using efficient lights, windows, furnaces, and other features. While the “black sheep” homes could use energy efficiency improvements.


In the expanded view for each home, the app shows annual electricity usage using the Department of Energy’s Green Button Data standard, and calculates annual electricity cost by combining the homeowner's usage from Green Button data with monthly prices from the Energy Information Administration API.


Black Sheep’s database is pre-filled with simulated Home Energy Scores and Green Button data for existing homes in Arlington, VA (as a demonstration), but sellers can add their own Home Energy Score and/or Green Button data by clicking the “I’m a seller” button on the map screen - and “opt in” to displaying their energy data.


We believe homeowners should be encouraged to share their Home Energy Scores and Green Button data.  Black Sheep shows what would be possible if they did.


Usage instructions: Black Sheep requires iOS 7. To use the app as a home buyer, enter a search in the map view to see homes, and click on one you’re interested in. A window will pop up showing information about the home, including the home energy score and estimated annual electricity cost. As a seller, you can click the “I’m a seller” button in the map screen to enter your Home Energy Score ID and QA number and to share your Home Energy Score, or download your Green Button data.


(You can navigate to the Green Button example data site to download a file.)



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Idea No. 161