One of the easiest ways to control energy use is through your home’s thermostats. New designs have made thermostat programming even easier. There’s even one brand that learns your habits and then adjusts itself without having to program it at all!
First from the temperature control giant, Honeywell, comes the Prestige 2.0 Comfort System (right), which can be monitored from your computer, smartphone or other wireless device. You’ll still need to set up the programming at first, but the screen walks you through the process by asking questions like “when does the first person wake up?” and “when does the last person depart for work?” The Prestige Comfort 2.0 requires professional installation and a download of software onto your electronic device for remote control.
The second thermostat is a little more intriguing. The Nest Learning Thermostat (left) programs itself, based on a week’s worth of adjustments made. It’s a sleekly designed unit that features a large, easy-to-read display that dims automatically until touched, and a green leaf indicator that lights up when energy is being saved. According to the Leaf website, most people self-install the unit. The company also offers a Nest Concierge service for the hopelessly un-handy. The Nest also has an Auto-Away feature that senses when no one is home and adjusts the temperature accordingly. The company claims that if the homeowner “teaches” the Nest well, that savings of up to 20% can be realized.