Open Energy Dashboard
The Open Energy Dashboard (OED) is a free, open source project that provides a web-based application to display
energy information in a web browser. It was designed from the ground up to be portable so that is can be used at
many organizations. The links at the top of this page will take you to other pages that describe specific
aspects of this project including its features.
OED was founded under the belief that sharing and working together will advance our common goals. Instead of
producing another energy dashboard targeting a single organization, we decided to make a dashboard that would be
usable and valuable to a wide range of organizations. We pursued this path because the existing dashboards we
found were not portable, had limited functionality or were not free. OED is driven by the needs of its end users
where our goal
is to take care of the underlying technologies so you can more easily do your important work. OED is an open
accepts ideas and contributions from everyone. We are pleased to partner with others to achieve a result that
benefit both you and others.
By taking to a range of potential users and thinking about a shared dashboard, OED developed important principles
that guide our work. These are:
- All aspects of the project would be forever free to anyone. Our open source license legally guarantees this
and all software we incorporate from other packages also abides by this. It also means OED is self-contained
so you don't need to get or purchase other software to run an OED site.
- Advances to the work by anyone would be shared with all. This means everyone is required to share their work
on the OED code base per our software license. It also means you can choose to modify the dashboard as you
- The OED project is driven by the needs of users. We seek input from the community and choose direction based
- Data belongs to the site/user of OED. This means you should be able to easily export your data at any time.
- Anyone should be able to manage their site without paying someone to do it. This means we provide easy to
use pages to add meters, aggregate and analyze data, perform site functions, etc. Non-IT people should be
able to do this work.
- We would use modern technologies that could be maintained over time so the dashboard would have a long life
and be high quality.
- People using the dashboard should get quick responses. We have defined this as getting a result in one
second or less. This means we spend significant effort in optimizing the data techniques we use.
- The dashboard should provide both predefined and interactive views of energy usage. Sometimes you want to
show a particular, predetermined view of energy usage to people and at others you want to be able to choose
with the data to support your
- The dashboard would work on any reasonable device from desktops to laptops to cell phones. This means we try
to optimize the graphics to fit your device. It also means we minimize network transfers and computing needs
by doing as much work as possible on the server.
- There would be no application to install. Early potential users told us that it should just work. That is
why OED runs in any web browser.
- The dashboard should be reliable. We are proud that we have never lost any data at a site. We invest
significant efforts in quality control so you can know that OED will work correctly. We are open about any
limitations of the dashboard and keep public records of all issues.
- OED is vendor neutral. This means we are willing to accept data from any source and work with anyone to
connect up information sources to the dashboard.
As you might expect, it is harder to develop a dashboard around these principles. We don't quickly whip off
features but develop new features within this framework. Over and over again we have found that input from many
people has allowed us to develop features that are more general and support a wide range of needs even though
the initial ideas seems more limited. We believe the long-term benefit of a high-quality
product that is a result of collaboration more than pays back for these efforts.
How is OED developed if it is free?
OED depends on the freely given contributions from several groups. The primary one is those that develop the code
base. These have mostly been students who do it because they believe in our humanitarian efforts for
sustainability and also to get a valuable experience by working with a real project. The other large group is
actual or potential users of the dashboard. These include sustainability people, users of the dashboard, energy
managers, etc. They provide direction for the features OED provides and feedback on both early version of
features as well as on the production version of OED. The OED project has found that our mission and principles
resonate with all these people and they are willing to generously give their time for the common good. While
each person might have a certain area or interest in the dashboard, they collectively move the project forward
as a whole. The end result is a high-quality, free energy dashboard that informs people about usage while also
freeing up time and money to support other initiates in sustainability. The OED project has found this model to
be viable and strongly believes it will continue into the future, esp. as more people use OED.
The OED project has two primary missions:
- The first is what most people think of as the mission of OED: To produce a high-quality, free dashboard in
support of sustainability and to address climate change. This is what is discussed above.
- The second is to be what a group working in this area (including the OED project maintainer) has coined
as Education-Oriented HFOSS (Humanitarian and Free Open Source Software) projects. This means that working
with students to give them a high-quality,
mentored experience is central to OED. This allows students to gain
real-world experiences, enhance their education and prepare for a career after graduation while making a
concrete difference in the world via their contributions to OED. OED strives to work with all interested
students to give as many
as possible this rich experience. We understand that
our focus requires project resources, but know it
is a valuable investment. Furthermore, the OED maintainer is committed to working
with students who are AHN (African Americans/Blacks, Hispanic/Latino(a), and Native Americans/Alaskan
for terminology) and first-generation in computer science education. To meet this objective,
we work with colleges, universities and organizations that serve these populations (sometimes known as MSI
Minority Serving Institutions). In fact, from Spring 2022 through Summer 2023 (latest data when this was
last updated), 68%
of the 60 students who worked on OED came from MSIs. OED does not ask demographic information of our student
developers, so we cannot state the actual percent of students of different backgrounds. However, the pool
indicates a strong presence of AHN and first-generation students while still
accepting interested students from other types of institutions.
This website has a lot of additional information about OED. You are also welcome to reach out to the project to
discuss idea, needs, use OED, contribute, etc. Here is an overview of this site:
- The Features page overviews what OED can do and has links to pages with more
details. Another page gives sample academic uses to overview the features
along with links to pages with more details.
- A live demo site is available.
- The OED Help pages explain what and how each feature is used in OED.
also linked when you use OED via help buttons.
- You are welcome to contact us.
- The Developer Pages target those who want to help develop the OED code
base. They are probably not useful for others.
- More descriptions will be added as we roll out the new website.
Our logo and name
The logo was designed by an early student code developer who was also studying art. Its design was the result of
discussions among the early student developers. The lightbulb represents energy usage as well as light in the
sense of hope. The somewhat circular shell of the lightbulb represents the "O" in OED. The "ED" in the
center of the lightbulb is the rest of our project initials. Early developers referred to the project as "Eddy"
due to the "ED" in the logo.
The project debated early on whether to have "Energy" in the name. We always planned that the dashboard could
collect and display any resource (water, recycling, etc.). However, we chose to use Open Energy Dashboard since
the term energy was so
commonly used in this area and our initial versions of the dashboard would focus on electricity (as a
A little history
OED began in the fall of 2016 and was based at Beloit College. Its first public release was in March of 2017. OED
became a fully independent project around 2018.