In previous years I raised the thermostat temperature as much as I could to remain comfortable during the day, which reduced the need for as much air conditioning. At night, when weather gives us the opportunity, we open all windows and sleep with minimal clothes. There are so many other options to reduce to need to cool, such as using the environment’s own changing temperatures. Using shades to shield from the heat of the sun and opening shaded windows as soon as the temperature outside is lower than inside temperature.
However, there are times that I am not at home, or that our two story house is only used on one floor even though both are being air conditioned. Remembering to turn off the air conditioning or raising the temperature every time is not easy or convenient. Some type of smart thermostat might be a solution to help further reduce my electricity bill while allowing me to remain comfortable. Upon further exploration, there are two front runner options. The Nest and EcoBee thermostats appear to offer some options to help reduce my usage. Back to my selection criteria, it appear as though I could install either myself. The environmental impact seems to be positive from various viewpoints, including that many utilities are currently offering rebates for both of these thermostats, sometimes for up to $75. Although there is a cost upfront for either of these thermostats that will not pay back for some time, even with the rebates there seems to be the promise of a reduced monthly bill, which is not unlike many other environmental options from solar panels to LED light installation. Besides, there might even be energy savings year around, rather than just the summer, which is an added bonus.
by Rob Rutledge