“Smart” Thermostats Come With A Side Effect

(FreedomBeacon.com)- A recent study found that instead of reducing energy use, the “smart” thermostats installed in homes, often at considerable expense, actually increase it.

According to a research paper titled “The Human Perils of Scaling Smart Technologies: Evidence from Field Experiments,” smart thermostats will reduce energy consumption.

Authors from the Universities of Alabama, Chicago, Southern California, and Johns Hopkins contributed to its publication.

They assessed the effect of smart thermostats on energy usage using information gathered over 18 months, including more than 16 million hourly electricity use records and approximately 700,000 daily observations of natural gas consumption.

The estimates most relevant to the experimental sample are found in the Department of Energy Technical Reference Manuals, yearly publications produced by energy providers and regulators. These studies typically depend on engineering models and survey data to assess the effects of energy-saving projects on a large scale. Energy suppliers later use these estimates to support spending on energy-efficiency projects. These forecasts for Californians differ by climate zone and home size, and when we apply them to our experimental samples, we find that the total consumption of electricity and natural gas is expected to fall by 1.3% and 4.0%, respectively.

The thermostats, however, “failed to generate the expected energy savings,” it was found.

According to the researchers’ data, these thermostats “actually increase energy and gas usage by 2.3% and 4.2%, respectively.

John List, one of the authors, reportedly identified “ecobee and the Nest” as the “popular smart thermostat gadgets.”

They assert that their products will reduce users’ annual heating and cooling bills by 26% and 27%, respectively.

The analysis made it clear that usability wasn’t always the problem.

According to the paper, researchers discovered that practically all users of smart devices almost rapidly personalized their gadgets, and many of them did so with energy conservation in mind.

The problem was not the programming but how often individuals overrode it to raise heating or lower cooling temperatures.

According to List’s assertion in the report, if Commander Spock were given one of these, he would install it and utilize it correctly. Unfortunately, most houses removed the factory-installed defaults or settings.

“They take the technology they have been given and go in and remove the great bits. And when homes did that, they disproved all the ‘good things and the energy savings estimates made by engineers,” List said.

“Inventing a technology is one thing; persuading others to buy it is quite another,” List concluded.