Hackathon Brings Together Eco-Minded App Developers

Jean Barmash, EnergyScoreCards/Promo image

On January 25, over 100 environmentally-conscious app developers took part in the Cleanweb Hackathon in New York City, a competition organized to show how information technology can help people and businesses reduce their energy use and carbon impact. The participants split into 15 teams, each of which designed an app to meet that goal. The teams came up with apps that help users understand and manage things like residential energy use, solar power installations and shopping for energy-efficient products.

The event was organized by Blake Burris of Dynamo Labs, Nicholas Eisenberger of Pure Energy Partners, and Sunil Paul of Spring Ventures and the contest was judged by other IT leaders and representatives from venture capital firms. The event also hosted U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra to discuss clean tech and IT trends.

The weekend's big winner was Econofy, which won the Hackathon's Best Overall App and Audience Favorite App prizes. Econofy is a web app that helps online shoppers identify the most energy-efficient appliances and also calculates the money they'll save by upgrading to a more efficient unit. The Econofy team picked up a total in $2,500 for their work.

Tendril Energy sponsored an Internet and Smart Home Apps contest at the event and picked eMotivator as the winner. The app lets users enter any energy reducing steps they take and rewards that behavior with real items from Recyclebank. The team won $3,000.

Green Carrot was picked as Best User Experience by the Hackathon, earning the team $500 and also received second place in the Tendril Energy Internet and Smart Energy Home Apps contest, earning another $2,000. The app shows users their energy use, allows them to compare energy use with friends and to share advice and tips on energy reduction.

The web app NYCBLDGS.com received Best Use of City Data and Best Use of Energy Pricing Data awards for its rankings of New York City municipal buildings on energy use and carbon emissions.

Here's a list of the other 11 cool apps created by Hackathon teams:

Movable Feast – sends real-time energy alerts to your inbox when your energy usage is unusually high

CleanGPA – computes normalized residential energy consumption; users compete with friends, family, and community and win titles and badges

Audit Trigger – calculates which properties will benefit from an energy audit

Watt Quiz – quizzes users and generates watts that are donated to charities for all correct answers

Automagic Wireless Thermostat – puts thermostat in away mode based on location of users’ smart phones

Watt – summarizes your energy consumption into a Watt score. Users can get a better score by influencing others to decrease their energy usage

1>99 – compares the carbon footprint of the one percent vs. the 99 percent

Mosaic map – connects users with the solar projects that they’ve funded and presents real-time activity in solar developments

Solar List – educates consumers about solar power options and helps them find installers

Trip Watchers – tracks vehicle miles traveled and provides suggestions for reducing impact

Auto Power Saver – modeled as a screen saver for your home power usage. Based on the geolocation of your phone compared to your house, the app turns appliances off when you are not home and turns them on when you're on your way back.

Many of the apps will be available to the public soon, if they're not live already.

Tags: Apps | Carbon Footprint | Consumerism | Energy Efficiency | Technology

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