Energy awareness: A pocket sized solution

Energy awareness: A pocket sized solution

When you think of app development you initially think of Silicon Valley, not upstate New York. Utility Smart is an app created in Plattsburgh –  a city in the the most northern region of New York with a small population of around 20,000 – by a professor and developer with an interest in environmental awareness.

Energy awareness

The app was conceptualized by Curt Gervich, Associate Professor of Environmental Science at SUNY Plattsburgh and Jesse Feiler, iOS App Developer and President of Friends of Saranac River Trail along with the help of Mike Otton and Maeve Sherry, two SUNY Plattsburgh students.

It all began with an idea. The pair came together with Gervich's years of study within environmental science and Feiler’s skills in app development. “I had an idea to create an app that would help people reduce their use of electricity in their homes like kind of everyday stuff, like turning out the lights and keeping the heat a little bit lower,” Gervich says.

With Utility Smart, you can track how you throw out trash and recycling and even how high you set your thermostat during the winter. It compiles the data and helps you learn about how your choices impact the environment. The app’s ‘Environmental Footprint’ feature visibly show how close, or far, you are towards good environmental habits.

To keep the app close to home, user data from a class at the nearby Plattsburgh High School was compiled. Frequent trips to classes helped the developers design the app to ensure a great user experience. The app is accessible to Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads.

While setting up for my interview, the two were discussing Gervich’s recent trip to Asia. Feiler, who works more closely on the inner-workings of the app, declares the recent downloads from people in China. “China is our largest install base of users right now,” Feiler says. With more than 3,000 downloads the app continues to be updated with new data. The app is free to download from the Apple App Store.

Stock video courtesy: Footage courtesy of M_Broz, hosted by

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