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PAGE 6 | JANUARY 2014


Turn down thermostat to turn up savings BY JULIANN GRAHAM, Communications Coordinator


home’s annual budget. Te average U.S. homeowner spends $2,500 a year on home energy with 56 percent, or $1,400, going toward heating and cooling costs.


K


Termostat Setting Not surprisingly, savings can add up in a hurry when heating and cooling systems are tweaked for maximum efficiency. Members can easily trim winter energy bills by setting the thermostat at 68°F while awake and back a few degrees when asleep or away from home.


Even better, turning the thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours can save about 5 percent to 15 percent a year on the heating bill—about 1 percent for each degree. Savings may be even greater for homes in milder climates.


Termostat Placement Te location of your thermostat can greatly affect its performance and efficiency. Members should place thermostats away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights, and windows.


Members should read the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent “ghost readings” or unnecessary furnace cycling.


Programmable Termostats Installing a programmable thermostat can take the thought out of saving energy. Te heating and cooling system will ramp up or switch off according to a preset time of day or even day of the week. Most models let the user manually override the schedule without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.


Programmable thermostats are generally not recommended for heat pumps. In cooling mode, a heat pump operates like an air conditioner, so turning up the thermostat will save energy and money.


eeping a home hot or cold— depending on the season— accounts for a big chunk of a


Product cost


Nest $249


(not installed) Annual or subscription fee Wi-Fi enabled Online connectivity Mobile app connectivity


Learning or automatic programming


Usage history


Energy-saving suggestions or motivations


Notification for HVAC system maintenance


Demand-response capabilities Two-way communications


Automatic switching between heating and cooling modes


No Yes


Yes Yes Yes


Yes Yes


No


No No


Yes EnergyHub


Depends on hardware, but


ranges from $99 to $150


Depends on channel


Depends on hardware


Yes Yes Yes


Yes Yes


No


Yes Yes Yes


aBecause EcoFactor partners with various hardware manufacturers, some of these capabilities will depend on the hardware being used.


Yes Yes


Yes Yes Yes


Yes No


Yes


Yes Yes Yes


Depends on channel


Yes by proprietary protocol


Yes Yes Yes


No No


Yes


No No


Yes. but customer can opt out


EcoFactora


$8 to $10 per month


Honeywell


$500 to $700 installed


ecobee


$200 to $450 installed,


depending on the model


Yes-utility channel, No-service channel


Yes


Yes Yes Yes


Yes No


Yes


Yes Yes Yes


© E Source


THIS SMART THERMOSTAT PRODUCT COMPARISON PROVIDES A QUICK LOOK AT THE TECHNICAL CAPABILITIES OF FIVE SMART THERMOSTAT PRODUCTS. EACH PRODUCT HAS SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FEATURES, BUT ALL FIVE PROVIDE AUTOMATIC PROGRAMMING AND ONLINE CONNECTIVITY.


But when a heat pump works in its heating mode, setting back the thermostat can cause the unit to operate inefficiently, thereby canceling out any savings achieved by lowering the temperature. Maintaining a moderate setting is the most cost- effective practice.


To automatically manage electric resistance systems, such as electric baseboard heating, steam heating, or radiant floor heating, you will need to purchase a programmable thermostat specifically designed for the task.


Smart Termostats Smart thermostats such as the Nest Learning Termostat are emerging as a more user-friendly alternative to a programmable thermostat. So few people were properly using their programmable thermostats that Energy Star dropped its label for them in 2009. Smart thermostats provide automatic


programming and online connectivity. Often, they can be controlled from a mobile device like a smartphone. An E Source report published in 2012 said Energy Star has begun investigating a new labeling program for these devices. To learn more, members can visit the Energy Star website at www.energystar.gov and search for ‘Climate Controls’.


Turning up Savings Regardless of the method members use, research suggests people will save energy if they manage their thermostat settings based on whether they are home or away and the time of day.


Go to www.tcec.coop to find more ways to save. n Sources: E Source, Focus Report, TAS-F-2 National Rural Electric Cooperative Association


U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy


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