Companies large and small (including influential ones like Google) have been trying to convince consumers that they should actually use all the new smart-grid information to tamp down their energy use. So far, these programs have had little luck. Basically it’s hard to get consumers to pay attention to anything besides updating their Facebook status. So it’s lucky that Facebook now offers an energy-efficiency app.

Facebook is taking a stab at promoting energy efficiency through data, in partnership with Opower and NRDC. Next year a Facebook app will let user compete with friends over their energy use. So now, if you're the sort of person who prides yourself on how few kilowatt-hours of electricity you use each month, you can tell everyone you know about it!

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Unlike other variations on the “let’s all be more efficient” theme, this app has a chance of working, because so far the only thing that pushes people to take action on energy use is social pressure. And lord knows, Facebook has plenty of that.

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