Customizing Your HVAC System with Your iPhone

Smartphones, smart TVs, smart cars—do you see a trend? Technology has revolutionized the way we live. Today, technology is improving products that were introduced long ago. We aren’t necessarily launching brand-new, radical ideas. Our focus has shifted to taking what we already have and making it better. “We are going through a new revolution with internet connective appliances and products that have been unloved since they really were invented in the 40s and 50s,” said Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest.

For example, consider the smart thermostat.

Smart thermostats are home automation devices that control heating and cooling. These devices allow users to modify the temperature of their homes from their smartphones. You might ask, “So, they are programmable and can save money on energy, but are they really worth the investment?” Let’s take a look at what makes smart thermostats so special:

They are (of course) smart. Smart thermostats allow you to set the temperature and have the thermostat change it throughout the day. They also learn from your behavior and can adjust automatically based on your weekly schedule. For example, after a few days it might recognize that you like the house to be cooler when you go to bed at 10:00 p.m., but around 70 degrees when you wake up at 6:00 a.m. for breakfast.

They can save you money. Depending on your living situation, a smart thermostat can be a wise investment. Consider this example: When you leave for work at 7:30 a.m., the thermostat can turn itself down to save energy. Throughout the month, the smart thermostat can gather your data and report when you use the most energy, suggest how to use less, and show you how much energy you’ve saved. Ecobee claims its smart thermostat saved owners 23% in heating and cooling costs in one year, while Nest claims it has saved up to 12%; that’s around $130-$150 annually.

They are very environmentally friendly. Residential heating and cooling accounts for around 40% of all U.S. carbon emissions. Improving the efficiency of our heating and cooling will clearly benefit our environment and its climate. Smart thermostats can cut heating and cooling usage, and that alone saves energy and helps our environment.

They can nurture a new, greener lifestyle. A smart thermostat may only be the beginning. “You know there’s a risk whenever you buy something, with the feeling that you want to become greener, that can sort of become a substitute for actually doing anything more than that; but in reality I think once you begin to sort of go down this road you start to see, ‘Well, I can improve the house; I can make the house more energy-efficient,’” said Bryan Walsh of TIME Magazine.

They pay for themselves. What if we told you these smart thermostats may pay for themselves after only two years? Many of the most popular smart thermostats (Nest, Ecobee, Honeywell) can be purchased for under $300. This is an inexpensive way to do your part in helping our environment and save yourself in monthly costs.