Keep tabs on energy use with Microsoft's Hohm

Microsoft wants to help you lower your energy bills.

On Wednesday, the software company announced its latest program, Microsoft Hohm, an application that aims to help people monitor their electricity and natural gas consumption while providing energy-efficient solutions.

The application, which records the amount of gas and electricity consumed per month, will launch next week in the US. The name "Hohm" is derived from the electrical measuring unit "ohm." The program was developed using licensed data from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the US Department of Energy, according to Microsoft.

To begin using Hohm, users simply create a profile. Hohm is able to assess energy consumption and provide tailored solutions by asking users questions about their home, such as when it was built and the square footage. In addition to recording the watts of energy consumed each month, Microsoft provides tips on how to save money and the environment, like caulking windows and purchasing a programmable thermostat.

Microsoft's Hohm has also created a software development kit for utility companies, with the hopes that they will upload customers' energy consumption data into the application. So far, four utilities have partnered with the service.

In the future, Microsoft has plans to include propane, fuel oil, and water monitoring capabilities in the program as well as expand its free service overseas.

Similar energy-monitoring programs have sprung up recently. CSM blogger Eoin O'Carroll, wrote about the launch of Google's PowerMeter, an iGoogle widget, which requires "smart meter" hardware to measure electricity in real-time online, earlier this year.


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