Software giant Microsoft is beta-testing an application called Microsoft Hohm that consumers can use to track energy usage and figure out ways that their household can conserve.
To make the case that this is something we all need, the company is holding up figures from a May 2009 Gartner survey of consumers in the United States and the United Kingdom, suggesting that 80 percent of them are willing and eager to take action on their energy bills. Not due to some environmental motivation, necessarily, but to save money. Problem is, most of us don't know where to start.
So, Microsoft has built intelligence into the software that makes suggestions for ways you can affect energy usage, such as getting a better thermostat or caulking your windows over again. Your recommendations will be unique to your home, but they will be based on info that Microsoft has gleaned and licensed from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy. So, this are legitimate ideas based on national patterns of usage.
Hmmm, Hohm offers recommendations for how you can take action. Does anyone else see the potential for Microsoft to strike deals with power companies and alternative energy concerns to help bring them potential customers ready to take action on their energy bills? At the very least, Microsoft could sell advertisements for home improvement companies or energy-efficient appliance suppliers, which could display suggestions to fulfill some of Hohm's specific recommendations. Maybe I'm being too paranoid, though.