Smart home technology can help save energy, which translates directly into reduced CO2 emissions, especially in the many parts of the country where electricity is generated from fossil fuels. Earth911 talks with Sarah Colvin, senior director of energy partnerships at ecobee, a maker of home monitoring and management devices, including thermostats, cameras, and sensors. She explains how smart thermostats can manage energy by reducing the heat when no one is home or factoring in the impact of humidity on indoor temperatures to use less power. Do these devices add to or reduce energy use? Colvin shares how U.S. regulations require manufacturers to include the added power their devices use when calculating savings; ecobee reports that its products reduce energy consumption by 23% on average.
Home heating and cooling accounts for the most energy use in homes and commercial buildings. The use of smart technology, sometimes referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), a network of devices that collect and share information, is a useful option for optimizing the indoor environment. Thermostats, unlike phones, are long-term purchases that can be upgraded with new software to add additional capabilities, so it is not necessary to upgrade whenever a new feature is introduced. For example, ecobee recently updated its software to squeeze an additional 5% of efficiency out of customers’ energy use. Smart home devices are often available with generous local utility rebates because they help utilities manage the electric grid more efficiently, and ecobee will help you find local rebate options.