08/04/14 : Alexandra Straub

A Look Back: The Green Button Initiative

Consumers are able to save more energy when they have more information about their energy usage.

This is the fourth in a series of posts about the Administration's strong and successful efforts on energy efficiency. The last post focused on the Climate Action Plan.

Even given the energy efficiency accomplishments of the Administration that we've highlighted so far in this series, there are several milestones that could not have been reached without the help of outside entities. The government cannot solve all of our energy challenges, and we cannot achieve energy goals such as doubling U.S. energy productivity without the support and involvement of the private sector. It's clear that President Obama and his team understand how important it is to work collaboratively for even greater energy savings.

In 2011, the White House issued a call-to-action to utilities and electricity suppliers: provide electricity customers with access to their energy usage data in an easy-to-understand format via a “Green Button” on their website. It’s a simple, common-sense idea — after all, how can we expect consumers to save energy when they don’t even know how much energy they are consuming?

Industry answered this call-to-action quickly and favorably—by the end of 2013, 48 utilities and electricity suppliers serving more than 59 million homes and businesses had committed to enabling a Green Button on their websites. The participation to date is impressive; 43 million residential and business customers already have access to their Green Button energy data. In total, this information is reaching well over 100 million Americans. With this easy-to-access, easy-to-understand energy data just a click away, customers are much better equipped to make informed decisions to reduce their own energy use. 

It has been shown time and time again that behavioral energy efficiency is an incredibly powerful tool, but it requires collaboration. The work between the Administration, utilities and electricity suppliers made the Green Button initiative possible, and we're hopeful the successful implementation of this program will inspire future efforts between the government and the private sector.