Climate Control Systems: Comfortable and Convenient
The living room is set to a perfect 72 degrees, but when the sun goes down, the house gets chilly. You get up from the dinner table, turn the thermostat up to 74, and an hour later, you're roasting. Pausing the season finale of your favorite sitcom to the displeasure of your significant other, you get up yet again to turn the thermostat down. If this scenario sounds like something you've experienced in your own home, smart, integrated climate control is the right solution for you. Not only does it keep your household constantly comfortable, it can save a dramatic amount of energy and money.
Lutron thermostat is easy to install and can be controlled from keypads, mobile devices, and an energy-savings schedule. Photo courtesy of Lutron
According to Leviton's Greg Rhoades, the biggest trend in residential energy management is retrofitting existing homes to gain control over 100 percent of the home's energy usage. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) are a huge part of that equation. "Getting control over your home's climate means reduced energy bills," says Rhoades. "But more importantly, it means not using as much energy in the home when no one is present. Occupancy-based automation means the HVAC system is only running at full steam when you’re home."
Many climate-control systems also have apps that allow you to control devices remotely — perhaps the most popular feature across all areas of the integrated home. Leviton, for example, lets you control up to 64 different thermostats from one app. You could also tie your HVAC into a home-automation system, which means less futzing with thermostats and more automated functionality. When you are ready for bed, just pick up your phone and press the "Go to Sleep" button, and thermostats — among other devices — are set to predetermined levels, saving energy while you slumber.
The Nest Learning Thermostat ($250) is marketed directly to the consumer, is as easy to install, and programs itself. Photo courtesy of Nest
Sophisticated products like Leviton's operate across the home and feature a high degree of flexibility and functionality, but connected climate control can be as simple as a connected thermostat, one of the hottest items in home energy savings right now. The Nest Learning Thermostat ($250) is marketed directly to the consumer, is as easy to install as a light switch, and programs itself based on your own temperature preferences. "Simply turn it up or down according to your comfort and daily routine, and Nest will create a custom schedule," says Nest's Kate Brinks. "Built-in activity sensors note when no one is home and adjust the home to a specified energy-saving temperature." Meanwhile, Nest Mobile allows you to access the thermostat remotely to change your home’s temperature settings from afar.
Whether you are looking for a complex automated climate-control system or simple remote monitoring, anyone can benefit from a little more control over their AC. The environment, not to mention your pocketbook, will thank you for it.