ecobee Citizen

How a Smart Thermostat Can Provide Peace of Mind to Aging Adults

New film highlights how ecobee’s technology and utility partnerships help seniors live independently and reduce energy bills.

by ecobee on 04/04/2023 in Smart Home & Tech

5 min read

ecobee Smart Owner John Marlatt featured in BBC's Technology's Golden Age

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ecobee is thrilled to be featured in a new film produced for us by BBC StoryWorks Commercial Productions and presented by the Consumer Technology Association.

The film is part of Technology’s Golden Age, which focuses on how inclusive and accessible technology can help enable long lives, well lived. We took part in the series to highlight how our award-winning smart thermostats can help aging adults live independently, automatically lower their energy bills, and stay comfortable.

The film offers an intimate look into an ecobee Smart Owner’s life and how ecobee’s technology and partnerships with utility providers across North America help deliver energy savings and peace of mind to customers.

Finding an ecobee Smart Owner

Core to the film was featuring an in-depth profile of an ecobee Smart Owner to understand how our technology—like voice assistants, the ecobee mobile app, and energy saving software—helps simplify and improve their everyday life.

I know when I come home, no matter what, my apartment is going to be comfortable because I have the ecobee [smart thermostat].

- John Marlatt, ecobee Smart Owner

We connected with one of our utility partners to find a local customer to profile. DTE is a Detroit-based diversified energy company that provides electricity to over 2.3 million customers in Southeast Michigan and a natural gas company serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. ecobee and DTE work together on a variety of energy programs, including offering free ecobee smart thermostats with free installation to customers who agree to help to reduce stress on the electrical grid. Such programs, known as “demand response,” play a critical role in managing peak energy demand on the grid. Customers can easily enable ecobee’s demand response feature, Community Energy Savings, through the app, where available.

ecobee's eco+ feature displayed on the ecobee app

“DTE partnered with ecobee because our goals align in providing efficient, reliable and sustainable energy to both of our customers” said Angela Wojtowicz, vice president, DTE Energy Business Planning & Development, “The ecobee thermostat plays a key role in our SmartCurrents program in helping to reduce stress on the grid during peak demand events. It’s a natural partnership that ultimately saves both our customers money and helps the environment.”

DTE introduced us to ecobee Smart Owner John Marlatt. John is a 62-year-old living in Howell, Michigan. He received his ecobee smart thermostat for free by opting into DTE’s demand response program. John was excited to share how his smart thermostat has helped him automatically reduce his utility bills with the peace of mind of knowing he isn’t wasting energy during the day. We knew right away his story would make for an impactful film!

In 2022 alone, ecobee partnered with over 100 utilities across Canada and the U.S. to distribute hundreds of thousands of free or discounted thermostats to residents.

Since we design our products with our customers at the core, the development of this film was an incredibly meaningful and rewarding chance to learn more about John’s world and to see how the ecobee smart thermostat has simplified and changed his life for the better.

John Marlatt, 62, of Howell, Michigan. The ecobee Smart Owner is featured in a new film presented by the Consumer Technology Association and produced by BBC StoryWorks Commercial Productions.
John Marlatt, 62, of Howell, Michigan. The ecobee Smart Owner is featured in a new film presented by the Consumer Technology Association and produced by BBC StoryWorks Commercial Productions.

Making smart thermostats accessible for all

John is just one of hundreds of thousands of individuals who have received discounted or free ecobee smart thermostats through an energy program offered by their utility provider in partnership with ecobee.

It is programmed [so] it’s efficient and with DTE, they have a program, so that it won’t stress the grid.

- John Marlatt, ecobee Smart Owner

To help make our technology accessible to as many customers as possible, we have partnered with over 100 utility providers across the United States and Canada to bring savings and whole-home comfort to residential and commercial customers through our smart thermostat rebate offers.

“ecobee is proud to work with utility and energy providers across North America and to help customers save energy while driving a wider benefit for communities,” says Chris Carradine, executive vice president, ecobee Energy. “These partnerships are a core part of our vision to create a broader impact through our products and our ability to support a cleaner, more modernized electrical grid.”

John Marlatt using an ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium installed on a wall

Given the numerous benefits of smart thermostats, including energy and bill savings for customers, and their ability to help stabilize the grid when demand peaks, many utilities have ambitious goals to drive their adoption in their territories.

In cases like DTE’s program, the ecobee device and installation is free to the customer in exchange for their participation in a demand response program, which makes slight, automatic adjustments to their thermostat a few times a year when there is high demand on the electrical grid.

“DTE's strong commitment to the customer experience and creating compelling program offers makes them best-in-class and has helped support a successful and longstanding partnership between ecobee and their team,” says Carradine.

Technology's Golden Age, produced by BBC StoryWorks Commercial Production and presented by the Consumer Technology Association, focuses on how inclusive and accessible technology can help enable long lives, well lived.

In addition to their essential role in providing safe and reliable power to customers, utilities are partnering with companies like ecobee to make energy-efficient technology and solutions accessible to all. Their collective efforts are helping millions of homeowners conserve energy, put money back in their pockets, and build the more resilient power grid of the future.

To find out if we offer a rebate in your area, visit the ecobee rebate finder. Already have an ecobee smart thermostat? Check out Community Energy Savings to see what incentives are available to you when you sign up to help your community use less energy during high-demand periods.

To learn more about how ecobee is helping aging adults find peace of mind and save money on energy, watch the film to hear John’s story in his own words.

Special thanks to John for welcoming us into his world, and the team at DTE Energy for their continued partnership and participation in the making of this film.

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