The Green Button has triggered a new wave of energy apps that offer automated or mobile services or even gamification techniques to engage the users.

Green_Leaf_ButtonAs part of a challenge for third-party developers to take advantage of residential and commercial energy usage data, the U.S. Department of Energy doled out cash awards yesterday to the top winners for the most compelling mobile and Internet energy applications.

Announced six weeks ago, Apps for Energy received 56 entrants covering everything from price calculations for plug-in vehicles and innovative solar demand response to reducing your home energy load by simply unplugging idle electronics.

Grand prize ($30,000) went to Leaffully with an app to help customers visualize energy use in terms of trees. Users can log into their Facebook accounts to compare energy usage and savings with their friends. The Seattle-based team of Timothy Edgar and Nathan Jhaveri developed the Leaffully app as a side project, given their day jobs as software engineers from Microsoft working on the Bing search engine.

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Source: Derek Top | GreenBiz.com