Following Earth Day, I wanted to post about Microsoft Hohm, a virtual community of energy-conscientious people. Whether you’re going green to save the planet or save some cash, Hohm offers you custom energy-saving suggestions relevant to your location and your home. Whether through changing your home or changing your habits, Hohm can estimate how many pounds of carbon dioxide will be saved and how much money you’ll save annually.
To get started, you just have to visit Microsoft-Hohm.com. From the homepage, you can get a good estimate of how much you can save in your home by entering the zip code, square footage, and year your home was built. That will give you a rough estimate of how much you can save and in what categories but the real benefit of Hohm comes after you sign in with your Windows Live ID.
Once you sign in, you’ll need to complete a home profile so Microsoft Hohm knows about your house and can adjust its suggestions accordingly. By default, you’ll start out with the Basic Profile and you just fill in the essential information about your house like size, age, location, type, number of floors, heating and cooling systems, and other details.
You can alternatively switch to the advanced profile which will ask about general home information, structure, doors and windows, heating and cooling, water heating, appliances, lighting, and pumps and pools, to give you a much more accurate and detailed listing of suggested changes for your home.
Once you submit your home profile, Hohm will come back to you with an energy report. This contains suggestions for things to change and an estimate of about how much money it will save over the year as well as an estimate for how much it costs to do it yourself or have a professional make the change for you.
Under the Recommendations tab in Hohm, you can get back to your energy report at any time and also find ways to save. This will provide you with a To-do list format of the suggested house changes and energy saving habits to change. You can check things as done or add notes. You can also find out more information and instructions on how to do some of these tasks by following the suggestion links.
There is also a social aspect to Microsoft Hohm through their community “forums” which uses the (service that I despise) Get Satisfaction. You can get support for Microsoft Hohm and talk with others about different suggestions. Since Hohm is still in beta, you can also report problems and make feature requests.
If you’re a home owner, be sure to check out Microsoft Hohm and see what you can be doing to save money and reduce your impact on the environment. You can also follow Microsoft Hohm on Twitter and watch their blog.
Also of interest, you can read Microsoft’s own article on Hohm and watch videos of different leaders in Microsoft explain the company’s stance on the environment.