One of the many friends of Jetson Green in attendance at Greenbuild this year pointed our attention to the ecobee thermostat, a high-tech, wirelessly connected, programmable thermostat. In addition to controlling temperature, ecobee also gives you control over the fan settings (allowing you to have the air circulation operate for a minimum number of minutes per hour). Ecobee measures humidity and can be used to control humidification/dehumidification equipment.
Functionally, it doesn’t appear to offer too many more features than other programmable thermostats; like those, it raises and lowers the temperature setpoint. However, it is WiFi enabled, which lets you control it remotely from a computer or other mobile device. A number of short videos about ecobee show how the various features operate. For instance, ecobee has a web portal interface that lets you access the controls through the web.
It has been noted that many programmable thermostats are, in fact, never programmed and consequently, the benefits and savings that could come from having it aren’t realized. A smart appliance like this will only save energy (and money) for you if you use it intelligently.
The price of ecobee is higher than many other programmable thermostats. For those who can make good use of the wireless connectivity and the ability to control settings remotely, it may well be worth the premium. But for many households, the special features of ecobee aren’t going to increase their energy savings. A more basic programmable thermostat, properly set up, will be perfectly adequate. But, if a couple hundred dollars more is within the budget, ecobee is certainly a stylish alternative to basic thermostats that offers a nice interface to make it easy to use.