Friday, 26 June 2009

Microsoft aims for the green Hohm

Microsoft is launching an online application, called Hohm, designed to help consumers better understand their home energy usage and to provide recommendations on how to conserve energy and save money. A beta version will be made available from, although it's not running yet and it's not clear when it will start.

Hohm will provide energy savings recommendations, which can range from removing air leaks to installing a programmable thermostat. These recommendations are tailored based on specific circumstances in the consumer’s home including house features, usage patterns and appliances. The savings will vary based on the information shared and the characteristics of consumers’ households, but the idea is that Hohm will provide increasingly more accurate and relevant suggestions for energy conservation as its users contribute home energy input and feedback.

In addition, consumers will be able to compare their energy usage with that of others in their area and connect with the Microsoft Hohm community to find referrals and exchange ideas.

Microsoft has teamed up with partners including Puget Sound Energy, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Seattle City Light and Xcel Energy. The company is also partnering with Itron Inc. and Landis+Gyr to make it easier for utilities and consumers to automatically access granular energy consumption data. Integration with meter data will also make it even easier for utilities to take full advantage of Hohm.

The beta version will be free, but only available in the US. A lightweight standards-based software development kit (SDK) is also available for utilities interested in partnering with Microsoft Hohm.

What's interesting here is that Microsoft has clearly put a lot of effort into this product which will undoubtedly grow in functionality and cover other countries. The real question is whether this is a prelude to the company entering the commercial Carbon Emissions Management Software (CEMS) market - Microsoft has already provided some carbon management capabilities in its Dynamics software. There will be a lot of players in the market (mostly small and new) that will be hoping not.

© The Green IT Review

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