Depending on where you live, the best candidate to save energy in your home is a smart thermostat. These devices offer the ability to monitor and adjust your home’s temperature even when you are away. More importantly, they can be used to automatically turn down your heating and cooling when it’s not needed. Smart thermostats that have earned the ENERGY STAR go through an independent certification process that verifies energy savings based on extensive field data. Among the first to be certified were NEST, ecobee, Carrier/Bryant, and EcoFactor. Each product uses slightly different features to help homeowners save energy, so do your research, and choose the ENERGY STAR smart thermostat that's right for you.
Here are some cool things you can do with these products:
- If your household operates on a typical schedule, set your heating and cooling to ease off when you don’t need it, using a smart phone or tablet app.Or, some products will even learn your schedule on their own!
- If you don’t have pets or plants and are going away for extended periods of time, tell your thermostat to ease way off – keep your home protected from freezing pipes and such, but don’t waste energy keeping your furniture’s feet warm.When you’re returning, you can turn the system back on remotely, so the house is comfortable when you arrive.
- Some ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostats provide monthly reports of energy usage which you can use to compare performance over time.
- ENERGY STAR smart thermostats can be controlled remotely. If you forget to change the thermostat before you leave for vacation, you can adjust it from anywhere with a cellular connection.
- Many smart thermostats can automatically determine when your home is empty and ease off on your heating and cooling system.For instance, they might do so using geofencing (detecting whether mobile devices you identify are nearby) or direct presence detection.
- Utility rebates for ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostats are available now in many parts of the country, with expected in 2018. Before you buy a smart thermostat, make sure it’s compatible with your heating and cooling system.For the very highest efficiency heating and cooling equipment, you may want a controller from the same company.(E.g. Air conditioner rated at 20 SEER or higher).
- Check that you have whichever home network you need to connect the thermostat – most work on WiFi.