Frequently Asked Questions

Before contacting us, please browse our FAQ.

General

What is JouleBug?

It’s the playful mobile app that encourages you to improve your sustainability habits at home, work, and play. Discover new sustainable actions with our hundreds of Pins, lower energy bills, reduce waste, and make a big impact on the planet.

JouleBug’s platform is also used by Communities for their own localized custom apps (e.g., Green Houston, Rethink/, SJEnvironment, etc.). It’s the same great app but with extra content that relates specifically to your Community.

Oh, and did we mention? On average, JouleBug can save an individual more than $200 a year.

 

How does it work?

You start by earning Pins, like “Bin to Win” for recycling or “Bottle Rocket” for using a reusable water bottle. Each Pin comes with visual, informative content that provides the knowledge and motivation you need to make small but significant changes in your daily habits. You “Buzz” the Pin when you complete the action and you’re rewarded with points. Share your activities, with photos and posts, and follow what your Friends and others are doing. Climb the Leaderboard as you collect Badges and fill your Trophy Case

How do I earn points? Are there prizes or awards?

You earn points every time you make a sustainable decision, like biking to work instead of driving or drinking local draft beer vs. imported bottles. Do something enough times to put achievements in your app Trophy Case and show off your sustainability skills.

When you take part in a Challenge as part of a Community, you can use your points to measure up against your competitors; if the Challenge organizers offer up some loot, then those points translate into sweet prizes.

Why should I use the app?

We believe that while most of us have good green intentions, too many of us aren’t dedicated to following through and need an extra boost to commit. JouleBug and its related apps are that boost. Plus, users save an average of more than $200 a year when they make the app part of their regular activity.

Does the app use the honor system? Couldn't I just Buzz without completing the sustainable action?

One of our primary objectives is to get people thinking about sustainability; that’s where we start. If someone wants to take credit before they actually completed a sustainable action? Hey, at least we got them thinking.

We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve to encourage honesty about your eco-credibility. Beyond our settings, though, we trust that you’re using a JouleBug app because you want to make a difference for the environment.

How do I enable Location Services?

Location Services are a great way to find local content like special Pins and Badges, Contests, and extra information about how to Buzz. You should be prompted when first opening the app to enable these. If you would like to turn them on later, follow these steps:

iOS

Open the Settings app on your device

Go to Privacy

Go to Location Services

Find JouleBug or the related app (e.g., Green Houston, Rethink/, etc.) and set to ‘On’

Android

It’s device dependent, but you want to look for Settings and turn Location Services on. This could be as simple as pulling down from the top of your screen to access the settings panel. Or you might need to look for a Settings icon – this could be a gear (Galaxy S3) or a blue slider (LG). JouleBug uses Google’s location service as the primary service and GPS satellites as the backup.

 

I see some activity I'm inspired by. How do I Follow this JouleBug user?

Tap on the person’s Profile picture or name and you’ll see their Profile page. Then just tap on the Follow button. It’s that easy!

Can I connect my utility account?

Yes! You can integrate utility accounts to track your long-term savings and see how small habits translate into real value. Our utility coverage map includes more than 20,000,000 prospective rate-payers; that’s real potential for epic sustainable change. And if you happen to live outside of our coverage map, reach out and let us know so we can get you connected.

If it's free, how do you make money?

The app is free for individual users. We offer a subscription model, JouleBug Communities, to universities, businesses and cities who want the right tool to motivate their constituents to live more sustainably.

Want to bring a JouleBug Challenge to your organization? We’d love to get you started. Just let us know!

How do I transfer the app to a new iPhone?

If you have connected JouleBug (or a related app) on your old device to your Facebook account, you may follow the procedure below for adding a secondary device. Otherwise, you must transfer the account by backing up and restoring your device via iCloud or iTunes. See the Apple Support document at http://support.apple.com/kb/ht2109 for step-by-step instructions.

How do I connect a second (or third or fourth) device to my JouleBug account?

This is most easily done via our Facebook connection. Right now, login with multiple devices is only supported on iOS devices (iPhone/iPad).

1. On your first JouleBug (or related app) device, use one of the several buttons within the app to connect to Facebook. This will associate your JouleBug related account with your Facebook account.

2.  On your second device, install the JouleBug (or related app), then press the “Login with Facebook” button on the welcome screen. Your old JouleBug related account should be connected automatically.

3. If you have already started using JouleBug (or related app) on your second device, simply use one of the several buttons within the app to connect to Facebook. You will be prompted to choose a JouleBug related account to associate with Facebook. Choose your original JouleBug related account. This is generally the account with the highest score.

I'm seeing some inappropriate photos in the app. What should I do?

 

We depend on all of our users to help us keep the Feed “clean”. If you notice any posts that you consider inappropriate, please let us know by using one of the following options:

Take a screenshot of the offensive post

  1. Select Leave Feedback from your Profile/Settings
  2. Provide comment and attach the screenshot

 

Flag the post (photos only)

  1. Tap on the photo
  2. Swipe to Flag
  3. Report Item, adding comment
  4. Post

 

Challenge

How do I join a Challenge?

Open the app. Go to the Challenge section, via the tab bar at the bottom of your screen on iOS or via the navigation drawer in the top left on Android. Find the Challenge you would like to join by swiping to the right. (Some challenges may require Location Services to be enabled. More details.) Tap the Join Challenge button. You may be asked to Join or Create a team depending on the challenge.

Do I have to login to Facebook to use the app or join a Challenge?

Nope. However, you can connect your Facebook or Twitter account for social media bragging rights. Your friend from high school just took a picture of delicious shrimp scampi? Well you just saved $17 a year by switching your outdoor light to an LED. That’s something worth sharing!

Oh, and if you want to use the app on multiple devices (iPhone + iPad, etc.) but have one account, then you will need it.

Who can I contact if I'm having problems Joining the Challenge?

Challenges are offered by Communities (see that footer at the bottom of the Challenge?) If you think you’re part of the Community but don’t know who to contact there for help, send us an email with your information and we’ll see if we can get them to let you in.

How do I join a Team in a Challenge?

Go to the Challenge section, via the tab bar at the bottom of your screen on iOS or via the navigation drawer in the top left on Android. Find the Challenge you would like to join by swiping to the left. (Some challenges may require Location Services to be enabled. More details.) Tap the Join Challenge button. If Teams are enabled for this Challenge, you will be presented with a list of available Teams or you can Create your own. Tap the Join button next to the Team name you wish to join. Still have questions? We’re happy to help. Just let us know!

Our Challenge has started. Is it too late for me to Join?

Always late to the party, huh? You can still Join the Challenge until the final round (that’s when the Challenge is about 85% done).

How can I Invite others to the Challenge?

The more the merrier, right?  Once you’re participating in a Challenge, it’s easy to to Invite others. Just tap on the Invite button in the Challenge and take it from there.

Can I still Invite others to Join the Challenge if it's already started?

Oops! Did you overlook someone on your Invite list? It’s not too late!  You can Invite and they can Join up until the final round (that’s when the Challenge is about 85% done).

I've been using the app for a while. Will all the points I've earned be counted in the Challenge?

What’s earned in the Challenge stays in the Challenge. And what’s not, stays out. But don’t worry, your overall points will still be reflected in your Profile.

Can I switch teams in a Challenge?

You can leave a team and join another team but we don’t encourage switching horses mid-stream.

If you do it before a Challenge starts, then it won’t have any effect on either team’s score.

If you do it after the Challenge has started, you and your old team lose all the points you’ve earned. Any points you earn after you switch will be counted for your new team.

As the Challenge end approaches, no more switches are allowed.

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