Being able to control the environment inside of a house is one of the hallmarks of modern living, yet for many years it was simple; turn on the heat or turn on the air conditioning and that was that. Considering the dynamic nature of hot and cold -- along with humans' inherent desire for control -- it should make perfect sense that on and off simply wasn't enough.
Precise control over home heating and cooling systems has increased by leaps and bounds in the past few years. The popular Nest thermostat helped take things to the next level by making a Wi-Fi-enabled, programmable, and adaptive device an everyday reality. With energy usage considerations always being a factor, an affordable approach to home environment management was only a matter of time, and it appears as if the trend is continuing.
Today, Honeywell, maker of thermostats both smart and dumb, announced an online energy savings calculator. Designed to attract people to its line of thermostats (such as the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat), the service gives consumers a quick glance into possible savings that they could enjoy by using a thermostat that can be programmed to optimal levels depending on their personal schedules.
Users are invited to enter their ZIP code, fuel costs, and weekday and weekend schedules, and the calculator returns a value in terms of potential cash savings as well as a "tree" value representing annual carbon dioxide reduction. While the vague return values are not necessarily illuminating, the idea behind the service is clearly to convince the average consumer that programmable thermostats can translate into real-world differences. Of course, depending on how it's programmed a smart thermostat can just as easily rack up heating and cooling bills (as well as "tree" consumption, presumably), but the idea that energy savings can be better managed is a viable one.
It may be a vague and somewhat goofy service that Honeywell is providing, but growing pains in home environment systems seem to be a new tradition -- as well as a contentious one, as Nest and Honeywell have been embroiled in a slow-moving patent battle. The new Honeywell online energy savings calculator probably won't turn up the heat on that front, but it does go to show that consumers continue to warm up to the trend.