January 15, 2019
Connected thermostats provide an opportunity to deliver energy savings through equipment control, provide value to the grid as a load management resource, enable data-driven program evaluation, and engage customers in support of behavioral change. The number of CEE members promoting these products and services has grown significantly over the past five years and continues to be an area of significant interest within residential portfolios.
CEE Member Connected Thermosat Pilot and Program Efforts (2013-2017)1
Due to the diversity of CEE members and their operating environments, program administrators are seeking to pursue connected thermostat offerings for myriad purposes. These purposes can range from enabling energy savings from ongoing HVAC operations to promoting connected thermostats as a deemed measure or a measure based on performance, managing peak energy consumption (or other balancing challenges) collecting data that may lead to greater energy savings or program participation, or better engaging with customers.
Program Dimensions of CEE Member Connected Thermostat Efforts
With a proliferation of products now on the market and programs supporting these devices, CEE members worked with industry partners to develop an overview of strategies that are documented to realize savings from connected thermostats.
Consensus-based Guidance to Advance the Market
Spanning a wide range of program objectives and member needs, this Program Guide serves to achieve the following objectives:
- Establish common definitions and background data regarding the energy saving and peak demand reduction impact of connected thermostats to reduce customer confusion and help members effectively use limited program resources
- Characterize the capabilities of connected thermostats that may credibly differentiate products that save energy and enhance consumer satisfaction, drawing on data from dozens of member program assessments
- Provide consensus program design considerations and recommendations developed by program administrators that seek to address program goals relative to data reporting, load management, and behavior change
Designing Connected Thermostat Programs to Deliver Savings
The Program Guide identifies recommendations for achieving benefits in the following four categories, through shared definitions and components that can be applied by any member across the United States and Canada:
- Energy Savings recommends adoption of a performance approach—specifically, ENERGY STAR® Connected Thermostat Specification Version 1.02 —where feasible; for members interested in a features approach, it provides a recommended outline of product capability requirements that program administrators may consider given their individual operating environments. (Section 4.1)
- Data Reporting outlines a series of recommended components for connected thermostat providers that, with customer authorization to share data, can be leveraged by program administrators to support objectives such as enhanced equipment feedback, measurement and verification, and customer value. (Section 4.2)
- Load Management Functionality outlines a series of recommended components for connected thermostats that could be leveraged to manage time-dependent energy consumption through such means as direct load control and grid signal communication. (Section 4.3)
- Incorporation of Behavioral Science Insights encourages the incorporation of behavioral insights that could achieve even higher energy savings through motivating behavior change. (Section 4.4)
For more information, contact Senior Program Manager Alice Rosenberg
1 Data collected from CEE Appliance Program Summaries, Connected Program Summaries, Behavior Program Summaries, Existing Homes Program Summaries, HVAC Program Summaries, and ETC Catalog of Assessments. Some member organizations had more than one program or pilot in a given year.
2 US EPA estimates that ENERGY STAR certified connected thermostats yield an average of 8 percent heating and cooling energy savings per household.