What Makes Smart Thermostats Such a Smart Move?


Smart thermostats are a simple home upgrade that can make your home more comfortable and save energy. In this article, we discuss the multiple benefits of these nifty devices and related rebates available from the Compact.

What is a smart thermostat?

Smart thermostats are Wi-Fi enabled thermostats that can make automatic adjustments to heating and cooling temperature setpoints for optimal performance. Different brands have different system designs, but most smart thermostats have learning capabilities and an app that enables you to control the thermostat remotely from a smart phone.

Cape Light Compact offers a $100 rebate on ENERGY STAR® certified smart thermostats. To earn ENERGY STAR certification, smart thermostats are independently certified based on real usage data to provide energy savings.

How do smart thermostats save energy?

There are two core ways that smart thermostats help save energy: schedule optimization and accessible information.

When you turn on the learning mode of your smart thermostat, it learns your schedule and temperature preferences and then adjusts to keep the temperature in your comfort zone when you’re there and conserve energy when you’re not. The thermostats can use a combination of sensors to know when a room is occupied and geofencing tied to your smart phone to learn these habits. This makes smart thermostats super convenient – they can control your heating and cooling systems so your home reaches your preferred temperature right when you get back from work!

The second way smart thermostats help save energy, and lower your energy bills, is by giving users easy access to information about historic temperature settings and how much your heating and cooling system have been on. Once you have that information, it’s human nature to want to see that your AC only kicked on three times and ran for a total of a half hour that last super-hot day.

Smart thermostat manufacturers cite studies that have shown their thermostats save households an average of 10% to 15% on their heating and cooling bills.

But wait, there’s more!

Smart thermostats’ Wi-Fi connection enables additional capabilities, including giving households the ability to participate in demand response programs. Demand response programs are energy programs that support grid resiliency and reduce negative environmental impacts. When demand for power is high, these programs send a signal to participating smart thermostats to slightly reduce their energy use, automatically. With many participants, a demand response program can significantly reduce total energy demand within a community. That’s good for multiple reasons; when peak demand for power is high, utilities may be required to use older, less efficient, and more heavily polluting generation sources. Not having to fire up those old fossil fuel power plants reduces carbon pollution and extra cost to the grid, which impacts energy rates.

If you are an electric customer on the Cape or Vineyard with central AC controlled by a smart thermostat, you can participate in the Compact’s demand response program, ConnectedSolutions. Participants allow the Compact to automatically adjust their thermostat by a couple degrees during peak events. By participating, you help the energy grid, help the environment, and earn incentives! The Compact offers a $25 Amazon gift card for enrolling and another $20 gift card per season for participating. Users always have the option to opt out of an event by setting their thermostat back to their preferred temperature.

To recap

Smart thermostats help save energy by optimizing temperature schedules and letting users try and beat their low-energy use score (if you’re into that). They also enable users to participate in energy programs that reduce the need to fire-up “peaker plants” that tend to be older and more polluting.

The Compact offers a $100 rebate on ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostats. You can purchase a thermostat from a store and submit a rebate or shop on the Mass Save online store and the rebate will be applied as an instant discount.

If your smart thermostat is connected to a central AC system, you can also participate in the Compact’s ConnectedSolutions program to earn incentives and do good for our energy system and the environment.