Smart thermostats have been hot lately, but a new thermostat technology doesn’t just adjust your thermostat temperature based on time of day or your patterns. It also does so to keep you within a dedicated budget.
There are plenty of nice thermostats and thermostat technology on the market these days, such as one sensitive to weather in your neighborhood, the WeatherBug app, and the Nest and Honeywell learning thermostats.
However, this new one developed at Arizona University, is one that affects your pocketbook more directly. While more regulation is possible by the homeowner or renter, the basic point is that you can set a limit to the amount of energy you want to spend in a month. The new add-on technology from the University of Arizona’s College of Engineering isn’t yet on the market, but it seems like it could do very well there.
The University of Arizona shares:
Unlike smart thermostats that expect consumers to reduce energy consumption by choosing set points using their intuition of savings, this technology translates thermostat changes into dollars before the electricity bill lands in the mailbox.
“Many people do not understand how much energy and money they could be saving,” Sprinkle said. “They just set their thermostat in the desired temperature range then get a bill at the end of the month with no understanding of how they correlate. With this technology, people can decide what they want their comfort levels to be depending on how much they want to spend for electricity.”
Of course, the thermostat also learns temperature-related characteristics of the home in order to predict and plan your thermostat budget. A web or mobile application shows residents how temperature settings affect their budgets, and vice versa.
The Nest adapts to one’s habits after a few days. It is self-regulating and automatic, becoming a power-saving mode during the times one is regularly or typically out of the house. However, it doesn’t adjust itself based on budget preferences.
With so many energy efficiency apps and smart thermostats out there now, it’s getting easier and easier to cut one’s energy use. But it would be great if this technology made it to commercialization, as I think it could have an even bigger effect than others. People are often more intent on saving money than saving energy.
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Image: © University of Arizona College of Engineering
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