One of the big perks that come with being a smart home owner is monetary savings stemming from scheduling your internet-connected thermostat alongside energy efficiency of smart lighting and more. Today ecobee, maker of one of the more popular HomeKit-enabled thermostats currently on the market, is eyeing up the former by debuting a new feature called Peak Relief. Focusing on automating your home’s heating and cooling based on electricity rate fluctuations, the new functionality looks to help cut down on electric bills.
Just about every internet-connected thermostat on the market incorporates some form of scheduling, whether it’s a simple time-based system or one that relies on geofencing and presence detection to see if anyone’s actually home or not. These are already great for cutting down utility costs and saving money on your monthly bills, but now ecobee is looking to offer homeowners a new way to save even more.
Deemed Peak Relief, the smart thermostat’s new feature upgrades its more basic scheduling system with the ability to adjust your home’s heating and cooling based on the current electricity rates. So when rates increase, your home will scale back its energy usage. Within the ecobee app, you’ll be able to configure your preferences for the feature, which allow you to customize the balance between monetary savings and comfort. While some might be able to go completely without AC in the summer, others may just prefer to cut back on the cooling.
By not only adjusting your home’s temperature based on time of day, ecobee’s new feature is said to offer significant savings on your electric bill. Just about anyone can appreciate some additional savings each month, meaning Peak Relief should be a big hit across the smart thermostat’s user base.
There are a few caveats to actually begin taking advantage of Peak Relief, the biggest being that it requires your home to be based around an electric heating and cooling system. You’ll also need to have either an ecobee3, ecobee3 lite or ecobee4 model thermostat and be on a time-of-use electricity plan. Another interesting requirement is that Peak Relief requires an iOS device to configure, meaning smart home owners with Android smartphones are currently left in the dark.
As of now, ecobee’s latest feature is currently being rolled out as part of a pilot program. Those living in California, Ontario and Arizona can sign up here to opt into upgrading their thermostat with the new functionality. The company has yet to specify a time frame for when it hopes to begin a more widespread release of Peak Relief.