Get paid for using less energy

Some lawmakers are trying to encourage their constituents to save energy using a new Web application called EarthAid.net. Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), for example, has partnered with the site. So has D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty.

EarthAid.net is a Washington-based start-up that keeps track of how much electricity, water and natural gas you use. It works sort of like Quicken for your finances--you plug in your online utility account information and EarthAid pulls in updates from the utility companies. The free site then shows you what you're using and when. If you reduce your energy use, you get points that you can redeem for rewards and discounts from local businesses.

David Burd, vice president of business development for EarthAid, told me he's trying to partner with local utilities as well. If customers have an incentive to go online to check their bills, utilities can reduce the number of paper bills it has to send out each month.

EarthAid.net started in 2007 as a seller of energy-efficient products. It launched this service in April.

"We're looking for other members of Congress to promote this in their communities," Burd said.