Recent recognition from the White House and the Department of Energy is garnering national attention for the Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s newest education initiative, PowerHouse.
The DOE recently announced the program as one of four finalists for Best Overall Application in its Apps for Energy Challenge. Representatives from PowerHouse have also been invited to the White House Energy Datapalooza on May 28 for a celebration of innovative products, apps, websites and other tools that help improve customer access to home energy data.
Made possible through a partnership with Central Maine Power Company, PowerHouse leverages Maine’s smart meter infrastructure to engage 7th- and 8th-grade students with complex questions regarding their home electricity usage.
“Nothing wakes up students' inner scientists like getting their hands on personally relevant data," said Gayle Bodge, GMRI Science Education Program Manager. “It’s amazing to see students grappling with huge issues like climate change by investigating their families' electricity usage."
In the Apps for Energy Challenge, the DOE is recognizing PowerHouse specifically for its new tool that overlays students’ hourly home electricity usage with its hourly carbon emissions. This functionality enables students to explore how and why the carbon impact of electricity usage varies throughout the day. Equipped with this information, they can use the PowerHouse site to set electricity management goals and monitor their families’ progress.
Winners of the competition will be announced at the Energy Datapalooza this month, where GMRI educators will be on hand to demonstrate the tool. GMRI is one of four finalists for first prize ($25,000) and second prize ($12,500) awards.