Image via voltygon via Flickr CC
People Power, a company we first learned about at West Coast Green in October, is a start-up in the home energy efficiency scene, working to bring smart home power monitoring devices and dashboards to consumers. They're just getting started and have yet to bring their devices to market, but that isn't holding them back from trying to help people save power. They launched a Facebook app today that is already getting us geared up for Earth Day in April - it lets you pledge to unplug certain devices, and then calculates how much CO2 you'll keep out of the atmosphere. How The Unplug App Works
From Unplug: "The Unplug application allows you to make a simple pledge to Unplug for Earth Day. Our GreenX Calculator shows how much CO2 you will keep out of the atmosphere, by equating your pledged carbon savings to the amount that would be saved by not driving a car. You can also see what your friends pledge, and how much CO2 you are saving as a group. Together, we can make a big difference in climate change."
Earth2Tech reports, "People Power, which is backed by New Cycle Capital and plans to launch its core products later this year, aimed to make the app fast and easy to use. Based on my quick test drive, they've at least accomplished that. Whether the calculator receives "viral adoption," as People Power made it clear it hopes for, of course remains to be seen."
While we wholeheartedly support efforts to get people to cut power, there are already a lot of similar apps and pledging websites out there. This one doesn't stand out very much. We're not expecting massive results, but every little bit helps and if it makes users and their Facebook Friends more aware about all the things we leave plugged in and use during the day, and perhaps gets people to unplug more often than for 4 hours every Earth Day, then perhaps it's worth the energy consumed by the app and its users.
Does One App Address The Bigger Picture of Energy Efficiency?
Apps like this that ask for pledges to unplug for a certain number of hours on one day reminds me of those campaigns to not buy gas on one day. The overall impact - it changes nothing. It doesn't make all that much of a global difference if we unplug x number of things for a few hours on one day. This effort has to be sustained, daily, forever. It's about over all energy efficiency.
That said, if an app can help us all remember to drastically reduce how much electricity we use daily, then awesome. Whether or not this one will do it, we aren't sure. But it's part of a growing number of apps and websites working toward the same goal of energy efficiency and perhaps, all put together, they could make an impact on changing the mentality of our culture towards energy efficiency. It's all about getting the information in front of eyeballs often enough to make a change. Advertising proves the strategy of blasting people with images and information over and over works to change behavior...so why not with apps?
As for my own inclusion - well, it's kind of easy. I don't actually own most of the stuff on the list so it's easy to pledge not to have it plugged in. The only thing that I do use that I don't have access to is the heater for the apartment building. While that's shut off for the bulk of the day, I can't pledge to actually unplug it. Everything else...piece o cake.
What will you pledge to unplug?
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