Sometimes it can be tough to put one’s energy consumption into perspective. But what if you broke everything down into something that everyone understands: trees.

That’s the idea behind Leafully, a startup project from Seattle software developers Nathan Jhaveri and Tim Edgar. The duo just took home the top prize, worth $30,000, in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Apps for Energy competition. Now, the public has a say, with folks able to vote on their favorite apps through May 31st.

We’ve certainly seen a lot of activity in the arena of home energy monitoring, including the rise of Seattle startup EnergySavvy and discontinued efforts by Microsoft (Hohm) and Google (PowerMeter).

Here’s a description of how Leafully works:

With trends and charts, Leafully aims to show users how decisions in their lives make an impact. Sleeping energy represents the always-on factor that can be reduced through buying higher efficiency appliances. We hope to incentivize the user by show them no only their energy saving, but the impact to the environment. Paying a premium may seem expensive for an appliance that may monetarily break even after many years, but knowing that you contributed 10 trees to the environment is priceless.

If trees don’t do the trick for you, how about this from the company’s Web site:

For fun, we can have people look at their energy in terms of cows farting. To do this math, a cow produces about 95 kg of methane each year and methane is 20 times worse for the atmosphere than CO2 emmisions.

Here’s a video demo of how Leafully works.

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  • Factfinder

    These guys have an interesting idea but their math and facts don’t seem to be trustworthy.

    For instance, cows produce the majority of thier methane from belching not farting. In addition, methane is not 20 times worse than carbon. It may be 20 times more efficient at trapping heat but it is also has a much shoreter atmospheric lifespan (up to 17 times less). Those are just the errors that are visible based on this article so it makes me wonder what other errors they have in thier logic.

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