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Cleanweb Hackathon app measures gadget energy

The first hackathon for writing applications that use natural resources more efficiently kicked off this weekend and announced a winner.

What happens when you let a group of crack developers and entrepreneurs direct their energies to environmental sustainability for a couple of days? As this weekend showed, you get some interesting apps.

Organizers this week hosted the first Cleanweb Hackathon in San Francisco this weekend and announced the winner of app development contest yesterday.

The overall winner for the event was team TACO (total cost of ownership) which showed a prototype of a Chrome browser plug-in that shows electricity use of electronics and other products to people when shopping, according to one of the organizers and investor Sunil Paul.

Screen capture Martin LaMonica/CNET

The goal behind the hackathon, which was held over two days this weekend, was to generate ideas for engaging apps designed to use natural resources efficiently.

A showing of the other winners and entrants shows that this concept can take varied forms, everything from better tools to improve the daily commute to an online bartering system for fresh food.

The audience award went to Dr. Wattson, an application that uses an API from smart-grid company Tendril to generate recommendations for coming up with a better home energy plan, according to Earth2Tech which was a media sponsor.

The winning "badass hacks" came from Tomatoe, which creates visualizations based on energy, health and resources in different states, and from Toxic Slayar, which taps EPA data to visualize where toxic chemicals are.

In addition to Tendril's utility data APIs, developers had access to a number of data sets on energy from the Department of Energy as well as data around corporate sustainability, transportation, and environment.

Other examples include Greenly, a life cycle analysis tool for small businesses and artisans to calculate the environmental footprint of their products, GROmunity for connecting backyard farmers, and a Tendril team app which turns energy saving into a game between regions in the U.S. See the full list here.

It's not clear whether the code written this weekend will turn up as a commercial product, but the Cleanweb Hackathon demonstrates that using information technologies and mobile devices is a rich area for making people's daily lives more convenient and a bit greener.