Save Energy with a Smart Thermostat
By Courtney Cobb
Making smart home energy choices can save consumers in the long run. Did you know heating and cooling consume the most significant amount of energy in a household? To help save money, consider installing a smart, learning thermostat.
“It can detect your location and your habits over time,” says Thomas Elzinga, CEC Energy Services Manager. “It takes out the complication of programming the thermostat.”
Thomas points out those who don’t already have a programmable thermostat will see savings add up. “Overall, you could see an 8-15% savings on the heating and cooling portion of your electric bill,” he says.
Smart learning thermostats use algorithms to eliminate the need for homeowners to program a set schedule. Occupancy sensors and cell phone geofencing can tell if a person is away to conserve energy or to keep the home warm or cool when they are home.
The thermostats do require wifi to utilize all its features. Most models give homeowners the ability to control their system through wireless apps on their phones or tablets.
Privacy remains a top concern for homeowners. Companies selling smart learning thermostats monitor and analyze your usage own the information and store it on their servers. “This is how their algorithms learn and adapt the system to meet your heating/cooling needs while keeping the bills low,” he says. “However, they go through great lengths to keep your data as secure as possible.”
Central Electric Cooperative offers a $100 rebate program for members who install a qualified thermostat. Models available for the program include Nest, Carrier, Bryant and Ecobee. So how do consumers pick the best model? “Any of the smart stats will work, but if you are looking for particular features, you will need to research each model and see which one best fits your needs,” says Thomas.
Members can purchase a smart learning thermostat at most local hardware stores, an HVAC contractor, or online. Homeowners can easily install the thermostat by taking advantage of the manufacturer’s “how-to” videos or do-it-yourself videos on YouTube. Having a local HVAC contractor install the device for a fee is another option.
If you are interested in taking advantage of CEC’s Smart Thermostat Rebate program, go to www.cec.coop and click on the Energy Efficiency tab.