One Small Button for Man, One Giant Leap for Data Access

By Jason Hartke on U.S. Green Building Council's Blog

Today the White House launched the Green Button Initiative, which connects more than 15 million Americans with their utility providers for streamlined access to their energy data. Nine utilities and electricity suppliers initially signed up for this landmark program designed to enable consumers to put their energy consumption into their own hands.

Green Button, elegant in its simplicity, is ultimately about empowering millions of Americans with easy access to the foundational information they need to take action and reduce their energy consumption.

Green Button will create new opportunities to advance green building and provide a valuable, new tool for practitioners. Widespread access to energy use information will help homeowners and commercial property managers understand their electrical energy consumption and create the starting point for concrete steps to reduce wasted energy, save money, improve performance and ultimately create buildings that are better for people and the environment.

As the old adage goes, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Without baseline energy data, home and building owners are unable to benchmark for energy improvements. This data will invariably drive the action we want to make significant reductions in energy use.

The U.S. Green Building Council commends the White House’s leadership through its Green Button program, which supports and complements USGBC’s on-going work on energy information and operational performance, including:

  •  Data Access and Transparency Alliance: Green Button reflects the goals of the Alliance to promote electronic access to whole-building energy consumption data. The Alliance members believe that this information enables building owners and managers to advance energy-efficiency, economic growth and energy cost savings.
  • Improve Energy Data Access Advocacy Campaign: The Improve Energy Data Access campaigns drives public policy towards breaking down one of the biggest barriers to investment in building energy efficiency by demanding building energy data access be readily available and easily sharable between utilities and commercial building owners and managers.
  • Building Performance Partnership (BPP): Green Button supports the goals of USGBC’s Building Performance Partnership to collect, interpret and act to understand and improve operational energy efficiency of LEED-certified projects.
  • Green Building Information Gateway: Green Button provides new tools and interoperability standards that can help provide new opportunities to unpack data underlying LEED certified green building projects.

Energy efficiency serves as a low-cost solution for energy savings. Realizing the potential of this low-hanging fruit could save Americans over $1 trillion dollars over 10 years, according to a recent report by Deutsche Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation. Green Button is one giant leap toward achieving the full potential of energy efficiency in buildings and creating jobs here in America.

Read the press release.

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