Dial up the savings and efficiency

From day one, I’ve envisioned my indoor comfort system as a pipeline of different systems that work together to create an optimal scenario. You’ve had a chance to watch that pipeline come together, in the form of advanced wall construction techniques, underfloor heating, and mechanical systems that are conducive to saving energy and keeping occupants comfortable.

The final piece of that indoor comfort system pipeline is the thermostat. A thermostat is a small but important piece of any comfort system, and it’s important to select one that corresponds with the requirements of your system. As I was saying last week, there is no better time to be a home builder than the digital age, because integrating different systems in your home is easier than ever before.

Compared to when I was growing up, the variety and technological advancement of products have come a long way. Everybody remembers the first programmable thermostats, with a menagerie of buttons on a front panel with a black and white display. It’s hard to believe that some of those types of products are now 20 years old, but the smartphone age shouldn’t leave any doubts that thermostats have changed. Take ecobee, for example - they’ve created a smart thermostat that mimics the functionality of a smartphone, so that using all of its features is intuitive and easy. It’s also wifi ready, which means you can control it from your smartphone. The benefits of this are obvious.

A smart thermostat should be easy to use, but not just from a convenience standpoint - if a thermostat isn’t intuitive and gets installed into a home or building, users may configure it to one setting that ends up wasting a lot of energy, defeating its whole purpose.

For any builder or home enthusiast, this week’s episode is packed with kernels of knowledge from my conversation with Jay Kress of ecobee, who I had the pleasure of having at the job site.

What is your favorite smart thermostat? Join the conversation and let us know!

 


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  • While I like and use new technology some of it I’d like to leave behind. At least those that haven’t finished building it with all kinks removed. I found most home appliance E stuff to be vulnerable to hacks, difficult to learn, and quite frankly a stealer of my limited time. I do not want to micro manage so I look for the tried and true set it and forget technology. But I do have a fascination, almost obsession with the latest update, upgrade. Of course I also noticed this to be an addictive attraction to open to discover the next new thing. Who cares if I need it or not. But alas even the best ideas have flaws. My Ecobee experience led to the unadvertised function of how it works. A stat set to limit a 2nd stage heat to NOT RUN unless below a preset temp led to several calls and a finding that the outdoor sensor does not exist but is simply a handshake to the internet that only checks every 30 minutes. How is a tech supposed to wait for that? Three people preceded this call and they failed to set it up right. Net result no heat! However my old wall hung t-stat I set and forget was just doing just fine. A stat made to be controlled by utilities to save money at what cost? Time and temp will tell.