App Name: SunFunder
The Concept: Crowdfunding platform to finance off-grid solar projects in developing countries.
The Need: Over 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity, while many people want to help fund clean energy projects in developing nations but don’t have an easy social media channel to connect with projects.
- SunFunder dashboard: Shows progress on metrics like dollars invested, number of projects, energy saved, and number of people helped. Users can see the impact their networks of friends are making, and ask others to invest with them.
- Easy payments: Funders in any country can use Facebook payments to invest in projects like solar powered lights.
- Custom stories: A unique video is auto-generated about every funding activity which funders can share with their friends.
- Matching and gifting: Funders can create a matching fund to incentivize their friends to invest. They can also send friends gift cards to introduce them to SunFunder.
- Connect: Project pages are integrated with Facebook plugins to connect funders with each other and help them recruit friends. SunFunder users can also subscribe to receive updates from other investors, solar partners, entrepreneurs, and the ends users themselves.
App Name: wattTime
Entrants: Volunteer team established at EcoHackSF hackathon; includes programmers from Google and Climate Corporation and economics PhD students from UC Berkeley
The Concept: Uses principles of behavioral economics to motivate users to shift their electricity use to off-peak hours, when the electricity source is cleaner (e.g. wind and hydro vs. coal and gas).
The Need: In 2010, 25 TWh of wind was wasted—worth over $500 million—because it was produced at a time when there was low electricity demand (Kraemer).
- Load shifting and forecasting: WattTime shows users their energy mix—the percentage of their current power that is from renewable sources. It also forecasts CO2 emissions associated with using energy at different times, and suggests a specific time for users to run appliances. Users can select the ‘I’ll Wait’ button to indicate that they’ll wait to use energy until demand is lower.
- Compete: The app allows users to compare their energy savings with their friends’.
- Team up: WattTime can show how much energy a group of friends are savings, and post notifications like, “Your team only needs 500 more kw to shut down the Barrow Point coal plant today!”
- Get Rewarded: Users get prizes like Amazon.com gift certificates for beating their friends at saving energy.
- Demonstrated savings: WattTime records energy use and shows the utility the money that wattTime saves them by reducing peak load.
App Name: yerdle Instant Share
The Concept: Instant Share will make sharing via Facebook as simple as One-Click Ordering from Amazon.com.
The Need: Yerdle has found that members can find 20% of what they’re searching to buy in their Facebook friend network for free, saving money and environmental resources.
- Instant Share: Facebook accelerates the sharing economy by allowing friends to ‘Want’ items that others post on their walls or ‘Give’ items by posting them on their own wall. When there is a match between ‘Give’ and ‘Want,’ yerdle sends the user a shipping label (depending on member preferences), and the recipient gets the item a few days later.
App Name: ApartOf
Entrants: Sean Connor and Matt Solt
The Concept: ApartOf helps residents of apartments, condominiums, and other multi-tenant facilities install a solar energy system with no upfront costs and share the power produced, saving money and creating more environmentally friendly communities.
The Need: In the CA residential sector alone, there are 4.2 million housing units in multi-tenant buildings, creating a potential market of 422 MW, equivalent to $1.2 billion.
- Find your building’s solar potential: Users can highlight their roofs on a map and find out the solar array size, in kw, their building could support, their monthly utility bill savings, and their reduced impact.
- Team up with neighbors: Users can log in to ApartOf using Facebook to invite neighbors to participate. Everyone who participates shares the power produced and the savings.
App Name: FaceOff
Entrant: Adapt Commercial Ltd
The Concept: FaceOff is a crowd-sourced demand response tool that uses the Facebook platform to trigger requests for users to switch off their appliances.
The Need: Conventional grid balancing is expensive and wasteful. Standby power must be maintained as a backup, which is very carbon intensive. Utilities value highly the ability to reduce load during peak times.
- Alerts: If the grid is under strain and needs balancing, the utility or grid operator triggers Facebook notifications, which ask users to switch off appliances temporarily. If many users comply, the grid imbalance is corrected and carbon emissions are abated.
- Celebrity Avatars: Alerts can be delivered by celebrity avatars. For example, a user could get a message from an avatar of Woody Allen saying, “Could you please avoid putting the kettle on, just for a minute or two…”
App Name: GreenVote
The Concept: GreenVote is a crowdsourcing platform that makes infrastructure more efficient. Building managers get real-time feedback from occupants to optimize the building environment and conserve energy.
The Need: Buildings account for 20% of global CO2 emissions. Real-time feedback has 10-56% energy savings potential. Many building occupants experience uncomfortable temperatures or lighting levels.
- Vote on temperature: First, users indicate what building they are located in. Then they vote on Facebook on whether it’s too hot or too cold in their building. User data is aggregated to provide a recommended new temperature, which is sent to the building manager. The app then projects energy and cost savings associated with the temperature adjustment.
- Vote on lighting: The same process for temperature change is applied to lighting.
App Name: Radius
Entrant: Green Mountain Boys
The Concept: Radius helps make these environmental issues more personal and actionable by showing how users’ friends are affected and suggesting actions for the users to take.
The Need: Currently, when people learn of environmental issues, they are unable to learn who from their network is impacted, relate directly to the experience, or determine which actions they should take, resulting in apathy and inaction.
- Draw connections: First, the user chooses an environmental factor and Radius, using Facebook location data and public environmental and energy data, shows the user which of his or her friends are impacted by that environmental issue. Radius then shows a range of suggested actions, including ‘Share,’ ‘Donate,’ ‘Demand,’ and ‘Learn.’
App Name: RideScout
The Concept: RideScout is a ground transportation aggregator which integrates seamlessly with other transportation apps to give users real-time information on all ride options, including buses, trains, taxis, and car shares.
The Need: People want to use alternative transportation, yet find it inconvenient. Primary RideScout research shows that 7 out of 10 people in an urban area tried to use alternative modes of transportation but found that the landscape was too confusing, so gave up and used their cars instead.
- Ride aggregator: Sorts ride results by arrival time, including taxis, buses, trains, ride share services, and rides from Facebook friends or Facebook group affiliations going in the same direction. Also shows the user the CO2 abatement, in pounds, associated with different modes of transport.
- Ride details: Shows where to go to catch a ride, who the driver is, and the number of pounds of CO2 the ride abates.
- User profiles: Profile pages include name, city, Facebook friends, type of car, driver rating, number of rides given and taken, and the total CO2 abated.
- Transportation profiles: Includes the type of transport, the city, reliability rating, reviews, and total CO2 abated.
App Name: Simple Energy Mobile Platform Application
Entrant: Simple Energy
The Concept: Simple Energy’s integrated Facebook platform uses past and current energy usage data to create a normalized baseline for each user so that they can then compare their usage with their friends and earn rewards.
The Need: Energy usage has become “back of mind” for most consumers. On average, Americans spend 6 minutes per year interacting with their utility (Accenture). Energy efficiency is one of the most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions.
- Compare savings: Normalized baseline calculation allows users to compare savings with friends.
- Rewards: Users can win real rewards (e.g. an iPad) or virtual rewards (e.g. badges) for saving energy.
- Leaderboards: Leaderboards show users how they are performing compared to their Facebook friends. Users can also create teams.
- Connect: Consumers can ask utilities questions through the integrated interface.
App Name: Tesser
Entrant: Jennifer Gai
The Concept: Tesser integrates with Facebook to create an interface between companies and users who share the common goal of promoting sustainable consumerism, and reduced environmental impact through informed product and service design. Tesser creates a platform for a two-way dialogue between corporation and end-user and a social platform for sharing this dialogue widely.
The Need: The conversation between companies and users is too often a one-way dialogue. Tesser creates a more interactive and productive dialogue on important issues.
- Facilitation: Tesser facilitates information sharing between customers and users, new idea generation, collaboration and partnerships, and increased public awareness.
- Dialogue: Users can post questions, which other users respond to. Users can rank the quality of others’ ideas and accumulate points.