Most of us want to be more efficient when it comes to our household energy and water use. Less consumption, after all, is better for the environment and also better for our wallets. But sometimes it’s difficult to judge how well we are doing.

Here’s a tool that could help. The City’s green page now contains a link to the service “Sage Steps.” By entering information about your own utility use, you can receive a score that compares your efficiency to that of residents of the same zip code in similar housing. If your resource use is greater than average, chances are you’ve got some good opportunities to achieve savings.

Of course, this kind of rough general comparison is imprecise and is certainly not a substitute for a full energy audit or other measures specifically tailored to an individual home. But it is a helpful — and interesting — means of getting a quick read.

There’s also a broader benefit to having a service of this kind available. Social competition is a powerful motivator, and there is evidence that many people will take action in order to keep up with community norms. Encouraging friendly social competition is among the initiatives in our Sustainability Plan, GreeNR.