This summer, junior psychology major Matthew Bower and two students from other colleges came in second at an international competition with an idea for a smartphone application.
The app, EmPower, will give consumers the ability to turn appliances on and off from the mobile device, give real time feed of energy being used in the house, compile and analyze data and then make recommendations to be more energy efficient.
"The goal is to change the consumer's behavior," Bower said. Not only will the app encourage energy efficiency, but it will help the consumer save money. For instance, EmPower might recommend installing a new, more energy efficient refrigerator. While this will cost money, the app will also analyze how much will be saved in the long run.
Athgo, a non-profit organization that aims to encourage young entrepreneurs while promoting environmental sustainability, sponsored the competition. According to the company's website, Athgo envisions, "A sustainable planet where young people of all backgrounds are well-educated and have access to opportunities that generate individual and collective prosperity."
One hundred students from around the world formed 12 teams to create and compete. Bower's team was awarded $2,000 to develop its idea.
Currently, Bower and his teammates Megha Jain, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, and Ashrat Amadon, a student at Essex County College, are working on their business plan. The team is also working with Rajiv Ramakrishnan from Bank of America, who is helping them with the financial work. Once the plan is complete and the creation of the company is documented, they will receive the money to create the app.
Bower acted as the speaker and presenter of the idea at the competition, and now he's working on marketing research. The team is aiming to have the plan completed by Sept. 23, and then they'll need to outline the app and find a partner to create the technology that will go in the home.
The business needs to be officially created by January 2012 in order to receive the money.