New evaluation report proves ecobee smart thermostats save – even during a global pandemic
As we continue to spend more time at home, residential energy demand has increased dramatically. A recent study shows American household energy sales increased by 8% in 2020, and in some states this increase was as high as 21%. This puts pressure on the electric grid and has forced governments to implement temporary relief programs that help keep power bills down. But consumers need long-term solutions to help save energy, as working from home arrangements will extend well beyond 2021.
Fortunately, new research demonstrates that smart thermostats are a vital tool, providing consistent savings—pandemic or not. Comparing data gathered between June and August 2020 with summer 2019 data, a new measurement and verification report by Demand Side Analytics shows that ecobee smart thermostats are keeping up with changes in consumption patterns and continuing to deliver savings.
Despite changes to routines, the study found that eco+, a free built-in optimization platform on ecobee smart thermostats, still delivered persistent incremental savings across North America in summer 2019 and summer 2020. Demand response program impacts were also relatively consistent at 1 kW per device across both summers.
“It was fascinating to see how energy savings persisted and stabilized during the second summer of the pilot, even in the midst of a global pandemic,” says Jesse Smith, partner at Demand Side Analytics. “I think the summer 2020 results speak to the solid physical and behavioral foundations of the eco+ features and how they can achieve real energy savings with limited customer effort or discomfort.”
Customers who used the eco+ platform this summer saved 5% more energy than those who used the smart thermostat alone, in line with the 6% added savings they experienced with the platform last summer, when work-from-home orders were unheard of. Even customers on time-of-use rates who were most at risk of experiencing higher bills were able to save 7-23% on cooling costs in 2020.
“Today people need easy, reliable tools that offer relief from rising power bills while creating a comfortable home environment as they work and learn remotely,” explains Chris Carradine, EVP of ecobee Energy. “Our eco+ platform helps them do just that, optimizing energy savings with automated features that work in the background of everyday life, so customers can save without sacrificing comfort.”
These innovative features let smart thermostats adapt to fluctuations in indoor humidity, recommend personalized updates to match changing schedules, quickly detect for vacancy, and manage time-of-use pricing, allowing busy families to seamlessly control their energy usage.
This is good news for customers and utilities alike. A great example is NV Energy in Nevada. With over 13,000 ecobee thermostats included in the utility’s summer DR program, NV Energy has seen over 22,000 kW of demand reduction in 2020.
“eco+ gives our customers the flexibly to adjust their savings and comfort while supporting their satisfaction," says Rod Lapid, project manager at NV Energy. "We focus on partnering with customers, which has led to lower event overrides. Coupled with ecobee's support, ease of use and high-quality technical package, it's a win-win situation."
As utilities actively seek new approaches for today’s shifting load dynamics and tomorrow’s power system needs, this evaluation report shows that smart thermostats with personalized automation alleviate costs for customers, enhance grid flexibility and support grid modernization.
About ecobee: Founded in 2007, ecobee’s mission is to improve everyday life while creating a more sustainable world. After launching the world’s first smart thermostat, ecobee has helped customers across North America save more than 13.5 TWh of energy. Today, ecobee continues to innovate with smart home solutions that solve everyday problems for customers with comfort, security, and conservation in mind. Find more information on the eco+ measurement and verification report conducted by Demand Side Analytics at ecobee.com/en-us/ecoplusemv.