Facebook has teamed up with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Opower to launch an app designed to help people monitor and decrease their energy usage — a sort of social networking smart meter.

Due out early next year, the application will include the following set of features:

  • Compare energy usage to similar homes. (Sounds questionable. Not sure I want my energy usage information available to others. Although NRDC claims complete data privacy will be ensured.)
  • Compare energy usage among friends. (This sounds cool on first pass, but this has the potential to create an inferiority/superiority situation among friends. “Oh, I see you used twice as much energy as me last week. Planet-killer.”)
  • Publish conversations about energy to the Facebook newsfeed. (Innocent enough, I suppose.)
  • Group development — Cooperation and Competition. (NRDC says this feature will allow communities of people to form teams to help each other achieve collective goals and compete against other groups. It also suggests that teams will be rewarded and incentivized by their utility or “other network partners.” I’d love to see if this pans out.)
  • Privacy issues aside (and there will always be privacy issues when Facebook is involved) I will say that this is worth the attempt. Energy monitoring has not exactly caught on yet, and with the popularity of Facebook this could be a great way to bring it to the masses. For the moment, I’m all for it.

    More info can be found on the Green on Facebook page.

    Credit: NRDC Switchboard