To cut down energy consumption, the city council of Austin in Texas has passed a new law to make smart thermostats mandate at home. All new homes and apartments in the city are required to have a smart thermostat installed.
In Austin, the city-run utility company Austin Energy has already offered a PowerSaver program that gives a $85 reimbursement if customers purchase and install smart thermostats home. Rolling in the program, the company will adjust the temperature by four degrees for some hours in 15 days out of the year.
As for the location, Austin has high temperatures most of the time over the year (the average temperature through the year is 69.4°F), which means a lot of energy consumption from air conditioners as well. Therefore, the new law in the city aims to help cut down the energy demand. At the same time, customers can also save a little money.
Instead of cycling people’s air conditioner on and off, the energy company chooses to adjust the temperature settings by a few degrees at home via the smart thermostats. While the adjustment happen during the energy consuming peak time, it helps balance the energy loads.
Most of the new homes and apartments in the city already come with connected thermostats, so the new regulation won’t be too difficult for the people to follow.
Austin Energy now partners with smart home service provider Nest for the PowerSaver Program. Customers, either home-owners or renters, can purchase a $249 thermostat for the $85 rebate. To make the program more accessible, the company is also planning to offer cheaper thermostats options.
About 50,000 customers are already enrolled in the PowerSaver program, according to Austin Energy. Some users, however, opted out from the program because they feel uncomfortably hot at older buildings and homes while increasing few degrees of the temperature.
If the new regulation brings a positive outcome on energy savings, more cities might follow up to make smart thermostats installed a mandate.