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Section 3

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What is the Green Button initiative?

The Green Button initiative is an industry-led effort to respond to a White House call-to-action to provide electricity customers with easy access to their energy usage data in a consumer-friendly and computer-friendly format.  The Green Button now also supports Natural Gas- and Water-use data in-addition to Electricity.

FAQ:  Blue Button, Green Button, and Orange Button…
Green Button Webinar Series…

2016 ProgrammableWeb series on the Green Button: 
How The Green Button Initiative Secured Its APIs With OAuth

  • Intro:  Understanding the Green Button API Initiative and Why It Matters
  • Part 1:  Getting To Know The Primary Use Cases of The Green Button API initiative
  • Part 2:  Understanding The Requirements and Standards Behind The Green Button API Initiative
  • Part 3:  How Green Button Ingeniously Extended The OAuth Standard Without Forking It
  • Part 4:  How The Green Button API Initiative Takes Advantage of OAuth's Scope Parameter
  • Part 5:  How Green Button Made The "Pull-Only" OAuth Standard Support Push APIs Too
  • Conclusion:  How Can Other API Implementations Benefit From Green Button's OAuth Inventions?
2016 ProgrammableWeb API University Series…


Who created the initial effort?

The Green Button effort was created with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), the Utility Communications Architecture International Users Group (UCAIug), and the White House.

The North American Energy Standards Board’s Energy Services Provider Interface (NAESB ESPI standard) serves as the basis for Green Button tech­nology by providing a model for business practices, use cases, and an XML schema for the standard.

The History of Green Button

In September 2011, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra, challenged utilities across the country to develop “Green Button”—a means of providing detailed customer energy-usage infor­mation available for down­load in a simple, common format.  Through utility industry support for Green Button, consu­mers would be able to make better-informed deci­sions about their energy consump­tion.  Standard­izing on the data format could result in inno­vative appli­cations that might trans­form the way people use energy.

In response to requests from the U.S. DOE, NIST, and the White House to help accel­erate appli­cation dev­elop­ment and industry adoption, a new initiative launched in the form of the Green Button Alliance.

The Alliance utilizes existing standards from NAESB and work groups of UCAIug and focuses its attention on developing a rich industry eco­system consisting of electric utilities, indepen­dent system operators (ISOs) and regional trans­mission operators (RTOs), suppliers/vendors and users of auto­mation and control systems, tech­nology integrators, policy makers, regulatory agencies, and others.

The public-private initiative of the My Data program serves as a working, living model of govern­ment partici­pation in helping to foster private-sector growth for the individual and collective benefit of the people.

–  Jeremy J. Roberts, Green Button Alliance
White House 2016 Open Data Roundtable:
Open Data for Public-Private Collaboration

The Green Button Alliance builds on a founda­tion of technical activities to support the develop­ment, testing, and deploy­ment of the Green Button standard and facili­tate its accelera­tion and wide­spread adoption across the electricity, natural gas, and water markets.

What is the mission of the Green Button Alliance?

The Green Button Alliance (GBA) is a non-profit, U.S. IRC 501(c)(3) corp­oration formed in 2015 to foster the develop­ment, compliance, and wide-spread adoption of the Green Button standard.

It is the single, definitive go-to-place for all things related to the Green Button initiative—from cert­ification of implementa­tions to marketing and education.

Powering Access to Usage Data


Why is Green Button data access so important?

The answer is twofold:  Awareness & Mitigation

Awareness:  To enable end users (consumers of electricity, natural gas, and water) to change behav­iors assoc­iated with usage, those end users must be aware of their use and their patterns of use.  To do that, they need access to their usage data.  Once they have access, they can take-action to reduce their overall usage, deter­mine if solar might be right for them, allow companies and apps to assist in under­standing where improve­ments (e.g., insulation, UV glazings, new appliances, LED lighting, low-flow showerheads) may be able to help them, and even be able to save money where time-of-use (TOU) pricing for elec­tricity provides incen­tives for off-peak shifting of energy consump­tion.

Mitigation:  Aside from the end users’ benefits, there may be societal and environ­mental benefits to these reduc­tions and peak-shaving actions, where climate-change mitiga­tion starts from measuring one’s impact in order to begin making those changes—whether manually or by automa­tion. Enough collec­tive shifting of use from peak hours of the day may enable a utility to avoid use of diesel generators to make-up the difference.  That may reduce costs for the utility and reduce charges to the end users—all while benefiting the environ­ment.

What’s out there to help me understand my data?

Applications, or “apps,” are available from multiple vendors to help homeowners, renters, business owners, and others reach their goals—whether the goal is to install solar, go “net-zero,” shave peak costs in regions with time-of-use pricing, reduce environmental footprints, or simply to understand how one property in a portfolio compares to another. 

There are many companies providing apps.  
Here are some Green Button Alliance member companies:

Energy Toolbase Energyworx      Personal BlackBox   Silver Spring Networks  Solar Analytics  Think Energy U.S. Department of Energy    UtilityAPI WattzOn

Which leaders are involved?

The Board of Directors of the Green Button Alliance (GBA) include Sponsor Members, elected Participating Members, and ex officio, non-voting advisors dedicated to the mission of the Alliance: