Connected thermostats offer gateway for increasing energy savings
Some 45 percent of homeowners plan to install smart systems or devices as part of renovation projects, according to a recent survey by Houzz and the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA).
Among the top three systems listed in the study were connected thermostats (CTs), reports the U.S. Department of Energy.
A CT is an internet-enabled, programmable thermostat that allows homeowners and building managers to wirelessly monitor and control their heating and cooling equipment. The first models were released in 2011, and today the market for CTs continues to grow as more products and capabilities emerge, including the ability for customers to remotely adjust building temperatures on smart phones and tablets.
CTs also allow consumers to access detailed information about the operation of their homes’ heating and cooling systems, which can reveal opportunities to use less power by incrementally lowering the temperature when the heating kicks on. Additionally, the “smart” capabilities of these products could even allow homeowners and building managers to tell their heating and cooling systems to use less power in times of high electricity demand, which can save money and help prevent brownouts.
Looking to the future, the Energy Department’s Building Technologies Office has published a report titled Overview of Existing and Future Residential Use Cases for Connected Thermostats. It considers how CTs might be used in other ways to advance residential energy efficiency efforts.
As more CTs are installed in homes and buildings, opportunities arise from the increased residential presence of sensing and communication technologies, potentially enabling a range of advanced residential energy efficiency functions: remote energy audits; basic and advanced HVAC system feedback for homeowners; continuous optimization of HVAC system operation; real-time measurement and verification of energy efficiency upgrades; and the development of an integrated platform for customer engagement, home energy management, and grid services.
To enable both near-term and long-term opportunities identified by the Energy Department, a number of important market gaps must first be addressed, the department said. These include CT data standardization, the accessibility of CT data, data privacy issues, and risk mitigation for cybersecurity. In some cases, strategic industry partnerships or pilot projects are already testing potential strategies for addressing these barriers.
Topics: Architectural Firms, Associations / Organizations, Automation and Controls, Building Owners and Managers, Energy Saving Products, Great Commercial Buildings, Healthy & Comfortable Buildings, HVAC - Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), Interiors, Multifamily / Multiunit Residential, Office Buildings, Sustainable Communities, Technology, Ventilation
Companies: U.S. Department of Energy