History of Green Button
Unlocking Energy Data
Building upon policy objectives outlined in the Obama Administration’s “A Policy Framework for the 21st Century Grid: Enabling Our Secure Energy Future”1, in September 2011, former U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra, challenged2 the smart grid sector to develop a “Green Button” to provide customers with easy access to their own detailed energy usage information and make it available for download in a simple, common format. Consumers would then be able to make more-informed decisions about their energy use—and when coupled with opportunities to take action, be empowered to manage their own energy consumption.
The Green Button initiative was created with the support of the White House, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). In late fall, 2011, the initial North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) Energy Services Provider Interface (ESPI) standard, upon which the Green Button Download My Data (DMD) and Connect My Data (CMD) standards are based, was ratified.
In 2012, California investor-owned utilities—Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), and Southern California Edison (SCE)—were the first in the U.S. to offer Green Button Download My Data (DMD) implementations on their websites enabling home owners and property managers to download their energy usage data in an industry-standard XML data format.
Today, dozens of utilities and energy service providers are providing, or working to provide energy users, including residential, business and commercial and industrial customers, with their own energy usage information in the industry standard Green Button format.3
In Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Energy and MaRS Discovery District quickly followed suit and in 2012 began to advance the Green Button initiative in Ontario. Green Button Alliance founding member London Hydro and other utilities adopted the Green Button DMD standard for residential and small business customers4, enabling Canadians with access to their data using Green Button technology.5 In addition, Green Button Connect My Data implementations—which enable utility customers to authorize direct, secure transfer of their energy usage data to third parties that can assist them in managing their energy consumption—is now available at several utilities in the U.S. and Canada. In November, 2021, the Ontario government mandated utilities province-wide provide Green Button standards-based Connect My Data and Download My Data solutions—tested and Certified by the Green Button Alliance as compliant to the Green Button standard—by November, 2023 to empower Ontarians with digital access to their usage data, and the ability to easily view and manage their consumption, and lower costs.
Industry Standard for Data Access & Sharing
In North America, electricity, natural gas and water utilities leveraging Green Button standards are now providing new standards-based data exchange implementations, third-party energy management applications, and new Green Button data-enabled services; greatly benefiting customers who can now utilize their energy data to manage and reduce household and building energy consumption. To date, there are hundreds of Green Button implementations, tools, services, and apps that have been developed.
- ^ Aneesh Chopra, Vivek Kundra, Phil Weiser, “A Policy Framework for the 21st Century Grid: Enabling Our Secure Energy Future”, June, 2011, Pg. 40, 41, 42: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/nstc-smart-grid-june2011.pdf
- ^ Aneesh Chopra, “Modeling Green Energy Challenge After a Blue Button”, September 15, 2011: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2011/09/15/modeling-green-energy-challenge-after-blue-button
- ^ Matt Theall; John Teeter; Mark Ewing; Brian Wright; David Wollman; Chris Irwin; “What is Green Button? How is it useful to Federal Agencies?” June 2014, Front page: https://services.greenbuttondata.org/library/presentations/GreenGov_June_2014.pdf
- ^ May 2015, Green Button Ontario website
- ^ July 14, 2015, “Connecting the Dots on Climate Data in Ontario”