2017 Holiday Gift Ideas – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers its first-ever ENERGY STAR specification for smart thermostats. You can find a listing of ENERGY STAR approved smart thermostats and other smart gift ideas on the ENERGY STAR web site.
The unique challenge in identifying household thermostats that save energy was accounting for how an individual or family ultimately sets the temperature. A report from Commonwealth Edison estimated that 30-35% of cooling energy use could be saved by consumers choosing more efficient thermostat set points.
EPA's focus with these requirements is to recognize products that save energy as they are actually used in homes. Connectivity enables this, along with a host of other features like automatic energy savings, remote access, and demand response.
ENERGY STAR recognizes that smart thermostats provide an opportunity for energy savings far beyond a simple energy consumption limit or temperature setting, and the specification supports continued product and business model innovation. The label will enhance consumer interest in energy savings HVAC services while allowing for new technologies and an evolving market to create future opportunities.
For this new product category, ENERGY STAR recognition is awarded to a product based on both hardware and service elements; the device on the wall and the service supporting its smart functionality must meet criteria included in the ENERGY STAR specification.
For the first time, this ENERGY STAR specification relies on analysis and aggregation of field data, rather than a laboratory test, to factor in the way the devices are use and ensure savings in-use.
"EPA is excited to recognize leading manufacturers designing their products with new smart technology that can provide considerable savings to households as they are actually used," Abi Daken, program manager for ENERGY STAR HVAC products said at the time of the announcement earlier in 2017.
"Anyone who cares about energy savings but is too busy to think about their heating and cooling use can be assured that these products have shown they help other busy families," concluded Daken.
The savings can add up quickly. The average consumer using an ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostat will save more than 8% of their heating and cooling energy, amounting to approximately $50 annually.
If all thermostatically controlled heating and cooling in the US achieved savings of this level, it would total 56 trillion BTU and offset 13 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the emissions of 1.2 million motor vehicles each year.