Last month, the Alberta government unveiled its energy efficiency strategy and a major component of the plan is to provide homeowners with rebates on a whole host of products to encourage greater energy efficiency. One of those products, smart thermostats, can result in significant energy use reductions, according to Nest.
Speaking with Canadian Green Tech earlier this month, Iuliana Calin, head of energy partnerships in Canada at Nest, noted decreased energy consumption from using smart thermostats can be big pocket book savings for homeowners.
Based on third-party studies done in a variety of North American markets, “Nest Learning Thermostats can help customers reduce energy use for heating and cooling by 8% to 10% annually,” she said, adding those figures can vary depending on weather, location and other factors.
Much of the savings results from the auto-away feature (recently rebranded as Eco-Temperatures) in the Nest Learning Thermostat. It detects when the house isn’t occupied and automatically adjusts the temperature to accommodate for that.
Calin added that based on runtime data of existing Nest smart thermostats in Alberta, each device can see a reduction of approximately 187 kWh in electricity and about 250 cubic metres of natural gas use annually.
Nest already has a substantial installed base of thermostats in Alberta. While Calin declined to provide a specific number, she said the figure is in the tens of thousands.
Asked to quantify the GHG emissions impact of using smart thermostats in the province, she noted that each device reduces GHGs annually by 0.63 tonnes. With a deployment of 100,000, Alberta could see emissions reductions equivalent to removing 20,000 Honda Civics from the road.
Nest isn’t the only smart thermostat to be eligible for rebates under the Alberta energy efficiency plan. Those from ecobee and Honeywell are also eligible.
The province’s plan unveiled in April outlines measures that will be implemented to achieve a number of objectives. There are three elements to the overall plan: residential no-cost energy savings, business and non-profit institutions and retail rebates.
With respect to cost savings, investments of $43.3 million will result in $106 million in savings over the life of the energy efficiency upgrades. In terms of energy reductions, the province estimates that to be more than 594,000 gigajoules annually.