The Green Button

green button1 The Green Button

Can Green Button, the emerging energy data standard for U.S. households, find a home in the commercial buildings sector? It looks like major grid players like Schneider Electric, Itron and Oracle, as well as startups like FirstFuel, plan to find out.

Those are among the smart grid companies announcing their support for the Green Button initiative, the joint White House-Department of Energy project aimed at creating a simple format for sharing energy data among utility customers around the country. The news comes as part of a big White House announcement on Thursday, with Itron, Oracle, Opower, Silver Spring Networks and other big smart grid companies pledging their support.

The Green Button initiative, launched in September, seekst to create a common data format for the hourly or 15-minute power reads collected from most commercial interval meters and newer residential smart meters.

Since then, California’s big three utilities have started offering Green Button-based data downloads to customers via utility Web portals. Texas utilities Oncor and CenterPoint are working on Green Button, and Aclara has pledged to make Green Button data available to customers of Mid-Atlantic utility Pepco later this year, with the potential of adding other of its score of big utility clients to that list.

We’ve also seen home energy management startups like Tendril Networks, Opower and Simple Energy launch platforms for residential customers. But most of these efforts are aimed at getting homeowners more involved in their energy usage.

Thursday marks the first time we’ve seen a big push into applying the Green Button to commercial properties as well. Of course, the main question is, what can commercial building do with a simple database of hourly or 15-minute energy use at the building’s master meter?

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