More consumers are turning to smart technology to make their home more efficient and leading the smart home revolution are smart thermostats. But do they really help save money? Energy bills are often a sore point for many homeowners. Whether it’s the middle of a sweltering summer or the dead of winter, it seems our heating and cooling costs increase year after year. But more Canadians are turning to smart home technology to make their homes more efficient and eco-friendly. According to a recent study commissioned by Telus, one of the greatest perceived benefits of living in a “smarter” home includes saving money and being greener.
Of those who currently own a smart home gadget, 36 per cent have invested in a smart thermostat.
Just like regular old thermostats, smart thermostats are responsible for controlling your home’s heating and air conditioning. The difference is, smart thermostats can learn from your behaviours to automatically adjust the temperature in your home, allow you to adjust your settings remotely and show you energy consumption statistics in real time. But do smart thermostats really help save money on your energy bill?
The Nest Learning Thermostat is perhaps one of the most talked about models on the market. This particular model not only learns your schedule and helps to automatically adjust the temperature in your home throughout the day, it can adjust its settings depending on changes in the weather and learn specifics about your house and its energy consumption – whether it’s drafty or takes a while to warm up.
According to two independent studies and one internal study, the Google-owned company claims on average the Nest Learning Thermostat saved U.S. customers around 10 to 12 per cent on their heating bills and around 15 per cent on their cooling bills.
Nest has savings calculators on its website that allow you to see how much you might be able to save with the thermostats, depending on where you live, the size of your home and what type of heating you use.
According to Nest’s calculator, a 500 to 1,000 square foot home in North York, Ont., that has air conditioning and gas heating could see a savings of $35 to $94 per year.
Did you know that for every degree Celsius (1.8 F) you lower your thermostat at night or while you’re away – for a minimum of eight hours – you can save up to two per cent on your heating bill?
If you have a programmable thermostat already and you already follow this advice, you are likely seeing savings on your energy bill. If so, you might not benefit from a smart thermostat as much as someone who doesn’t adjust their settings.
According to a spokesperson from Natural Resources Canada, Energy Star is in the process of creating a new product category in order to rate the devices.
“Smart technology is enabling automatic savings,” said Shuchi Roy, innovation director at Direct Energy. “Life happens – but you now have temperature control at your fingerprints, encouraging those savings.”
Smart thermostats can also promote greener living and added savings by offering visual cues and daily goals that tell users they are reaching their energy-saving goals. Think of it as a fitness tracker for your home – positive reinforcement does work.