Microsoft Ready for You to Give Hohm a Test Spin
Microsoft has launched it's beta Hohm for users to start testing out and they're hoping you'll sign on and give a little feedback. And from what I gathered through my quick run through, they need a lot of feedback. Hohm is a very simple user-friendly program that takes a handful of your energy usage stats along with many more detailed questions about your home in order to create an energy profile and recommendations for energy efficiency measures.
However, it's very much geared towards a home owner, or someone who knows a heck of a lot more about their apartment building than the average Joe. I happen to know a fair bit about the house in which I rent my studio and still could only complete 47% of my profile. Additionally, it comes up with recommendations that are geared towards home owners, or someone who has a whole lot of clout with their apartment manager. I can handle things like changing my computer's power settings and switching to CFLs, but I have precious little power over insulating the roof and changing out the heating thermostats.
In other words, Microsoft needs to figure out how to address the energy use and efficiency of apartment dwellers within Hohm, or else they'll miss out on a big chunk of urban populations. The more questions a person answers, the more accurate the assessment and recommendations, but for apartment dwellers there just isn't much that's terribly useful about it quite yet.
Beyond this fairly major issue, the interface is simple, speedy and very readable. Microsoft plans on making it more accurate and detailed as users submit info and provide feedback, and as utilities sign on for providing information automatically about energy use so that the user doesn't have to input that themselves.
So give Hohm a test run if you're interested, and let us know what you think.