It seems like every day there’s a story about how climate change is affecting our lives; no wonder people don’t want to deal with it. The way most of us deal with climate change is through our thermostat, and thermostats have changed a lot in the last few years. This energy control center has gone wifi, and that opens up a whole new world of savings.
Today’s thermostats, like the Nest, give the user an unprecedented level of control. Instead of the standard 4 setbacks, you can set as many as you want with the Nest, or let the Nest learn your comfort expectations just by doing what comes naturally- turning the dial up and down. If you have a heat pump with an electric strip heater as a back-up, the Nest will minimize the amount of time the strip heater is on, which can save big on electric bills. If you have a time of use rate tariff, you can pre-heat or pre-cool your home, then reduce your energy consumption when rates rise during peak demand periods. There are a number of strategies that can be used to reduce your overall costs by more than 10%, and for a lot of people that means the thermostat pays for itself in just a few years.
The real joy comes when people gain the ability to adjust their thermostat with their smart-phone or tablet. Imagine being able to turn the heat up from the comfort of a warm bed, or checking your phone to see if you left the heat on when you’re away from home. Wifi-enabled thermostats also show how many hours a day your systems operate, and other helpful information. This generation of thermostats is a whole new ball game.
When it comes to heating and cooling, a lot of people think of insulation and window replacement. While these home improvements can really help home comfort and reduce air infiltration, in terms of reducing your energy costs, the $250 thermostat gives most people more bang for the buck, and some companies offer products priced lower than that.
What does the future of thermostats bring? The future is already here. In the internet of things, the wi-fi-enabled thermostat is going to be your home control center. Already, thermostat companies are developing apps and integrating wifi-enabled devices from outside vendors. Appliances, lighting, security systems, and your television remote can now be controlled with your smart phone. Next up is real time pricing of electricity through your smart meter. Using the information and control capabilities through your smart phone will provide people with the ability to take advantage of lower electrical costs off-peak. This helps integrate renewable energy with your energy usage, and lowers your impact on the environment. Saving money saves the Planet.
Although Climate Change is a big problem, once people take control of their impact on the environment, climate change is no longer THEIR problem. As more people adopt these technologies, overall climate change will be slowed enough that we’ll look back and wonder why we didn’t start saving sooner.