Gone are the days when you had to manually adjust the temperature of your home. The programmable thermostat made your life easier but still they had issues which needed to be taken care of. The biggest one was the high usage of energy which was hurting the pockets of consumers.
In 2007 the development of smart thermostat began. The founder of Ecobee, Stuart Lombard created Ecobee Thermostat. His aim was to save energy and reduce his family’s carbon footprint. Lombard purchased a programmable thermostat in an attempt to reduce total energy usage after realizing that heating and cooling made up most of his home’s energy usage. He observed that the programmable thermostat was difficult to use and unreliable. On the basis of his findings with the programmable thermostat, he set out to create a smart thermostat that saved energy and was easy to use. Resultantly, the ecobee company was created in attempt to offer users a thermostat that could truly save energy by fixing the issues with programmable thermostats.
On the footsteps of ecobee, EnergyHub released its version of a smart thermostat in 2009 with the creation of the EnergyHub Dashboard. The co-founder of EnergyHub, Seth Frader-Thompson created a thermostat that could communicate with a home’s furnace and appliances to determine the energy usage and efficiency and how much it was costing. It also had the capability to turn off appliances or raise and lower the temperature to save energy/ cost.
Nest Labs developed the Nest Learning Thermostat in 2011. It attempted to reduce energy consumption by addressing the problems with programmable thermostats through the use of better technology. This new technology included the implementation of sensors, algorithms, machine learning, and cloud computing. This new device could learn the behaviors / preferences of the occupants, and adjust the temperature high/low to make the occupants comfortable when they are home and save energy while they are away. Nest’s goal was to develop an easy to use smart device that saves users energy and money. Nest Thermostat connects to the home Wi-Fi which allows users to change the temperature, adjust the schedule, and review energy usage through a smartphone or laptop.
Smart thermostats are responsible for controlling a home’s heating and/or cooling. They are similar to programmable thermostats as they have a scheduling feature that allows users to set different temperatures for different times of the day. In addition, they implement newer technology to reduce the amount of human error involved with using programmable thermostats. Smart thermostats incorporate the use of sensors that determine whether or not the home is occupied and can suspend heating or cooling until the occupant returns. They can also notify you if your air filter needs to be replaced.
Different Types of Smart Thermostats
Learning thermostats – they can learn when the house is likely to be occupied or vacated and use this information to pre heat or pre cool the temperature before arrival of the resident. E.g. Nest. Some can detect motion e.g. ecobee4 to check whether the resident is at home or not. Honeywell T6 thermostat uses wireless network technique called geo fencing to check if the resident is at home or out of range.
Connected thermostat – is the one that can be controlled through an internet connection. The combination of technology of thermometer and Wi-fi will enable the display of temperature on your cellphone
Zoned Systems – are the ones that can control the temperature of individual rooms instead of the whole house. This in turn will result in huge energy/cost savings.
Some Disadvantage of using smart thermostats
The world of internet is full of hackers who attempt to enter your private network and misuse it to harm you or as a spy to check whether someone is at home or not. Some strict security measures are required to be incorporated by the developers to prevent this type of attack.
The use of motion sensors is still not perfect as unless a person passes by they cannot learn whether the person is at home or not. Therefore more sensors and their better placement is required to make sure the technology acts as required.