Co-op Testing 'Smart' Thermostats in Pilot Project
Finding ways to help you, our electric co-op members, save energy and money is a priority at CCEC. We believe that little changes add up to big savings, and now we’re testing a new “little change” which has the potential to improve the efficiency of your home and keep money in your pocket.
We have installed several ecobee “smart” thermostats in employee and members’ homes to test their operation, ease of use, energy savings, and load control function. The ecobee takes the energy-savings features of a programmable thermostat – designating temperatures for certain times of the day – and, through technology, it allows you to control its settings remotely from your smart phone, tablet or computer. And because the thermostat is Wi-Fi enabled, you can see data about your HVAC equipment’s energy consumption, enabling you to make informed decisions about how to set your thermostat and manage your energy use.
|Marketing Specialist Christian Wiedner explains the new thermostat to pilot project participant Terry Murphy.|
“Programmable thermostats have been shown to save energy, and we want to see if there are even more savings with the ecobee,” said CCEC Marketing Specialist Christian Wiedner, who is overseeing the project.
“I like that I have it programmed, but can still check the settings when I’m away,” said co-op member Betty Ann Gittings, who is participating in the pilot program. “I’m able to check the thermostat while I’m at work to be sure the house is cool enough for my pets, and that saves me time and worry.”
If your “home” or “away” schedule changes, you have the ability to adjust the programming from the app.
CCEC Director Dee Irby has taken advantage of a few more features.
“The remote sensor in my bedroom adjusts the temperature based on movement in the room. So at bedtime it lowers the temperature to my preset bedroom temperature,” she said. “There’s no more
waking up in the middle of the night hot and realizing I have forgotten to turn the AC down.”
Irby has also used the vacation program feature. “I set the date and time I was leaving and when I expected to return, and then set the desired temperature,” Irby said. “I set this up several days in advance. No more last minute adjusting of the thermostat or arriving home to a hot house that takes a long time to cool down.”
Once installed, the thermostat will receive signals for load control during times when the demand for electricity is greatest and therefore most expensive. The signals will raise the temperature of the thermostat by a few degrees in the summer and lower it by a few degrees in the winter, but never to levels that are uncomfortable. And users always have the option to override the signal and continue operating the thermostat at their desired temperature.
By lowering energy use throughout our system during times of peak demand, we are able to lower our power costs. Because electric cooperatives are not-for-profit, those savings are passed on to you, meaning the little changes really can add up to big savings. By lowering energy use throughout our system during times of peak demand, we are able to lower our power costs. Because electric cooperatives are not-for-profit, those savings are passed on to you, meaning the little changes really can add up to big savings.