The same week Apple eclipsed Microsoft as the largest tech company (measured by market capitalization), Microsoft rolled out some new whiz bang features on its Microsoft Hohm energy efficiency beta site (www.microsoft-hohm.com).
The site now assigns a Hohm score "to most houses in the U.S., so people can compare their home to their neighbors' or scout one they're thinking of buying," according to a brief story in last week's Los Angeles Times (http://bit.ly/aGy9Rt). Hohm also links to users's utility accounts, though only in parts of Washington, California and the Midwest.
I tried out the home site with my home address (Hohm score = 66, higher than the average of 61) and got some questionable data, although the charts are pretty snazzy. For example, the stats suggested my hot water heating costs are $239 annually. Well, not when I was using propane to heat water. Try $1,000 per year. Now that I've switched to solar hot water with the sun doing most of the work, perhaps my back-up electricity costs will be $239 during the sun-challenged winter months here in Vermont.
But Microsoft couldn't have known about that recent fuel switch.
Give Hohm a try. In a few years, we're all going to be hanging out at Hohm and similar sites.