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New Thermostat - Getting Hyperconnected
Last week I had my old thermostat, an analog/mechanical model that most developers build into their new houses, replaced for free through Hydro Ottawa's PeakSaver program. PeakSaver is a program (or at least the name for the program in Ontario, it might be elsewhere as well) by the electric utilities to lighten the load on the electrical grid. As it's name would apply it is meant to reduce the load at peaks, particularly during warm days during the summer months when air conditioners start chewing up a large amount of electricity.
The thermostat that I've had installed is a Honeywell (I'll update with model number this evening) that allows my utility to increase the temperature (or decrease the amount of air conditioning) during hot days in the summer when the grid is labouring under it's load. They say they'll increase the temperature by one or two degrees during the day at those times. This results in less higher cost imports of power into the Ontario grid.
The thermostat was installed by a Honeywell technician, who also had to install a relay at my furnace to ensure there was enough power provided to the new unit. The unit has a wireless radio that connects via a pager-like network (I'm still trying to figure out what bands, etc.) to the utility who can then adjust it's programming. The bonus to me as an end user is that I can also program my thermostat by way of the internet which is kind of neat, and leaves me feeling 'hyperconnected'.
The utility apparently adjusted their deployed thermostats only 2-3 times last year, so I don't imagine it will really effect I and Meg's lifestyle a lot. But we do see the environmental benefit, and the programmable thermostat was free and something that I've just never gotten around to purchasing. It will save us money in the winter and allow the house to be cooler during the night in the summer (which has been a manual process up to this point). Throw in a $25 credit on my electricity bill and free installation and it was simply too good of a deal not to take.
This all comes on the heals of having a smart meter installed for my house as well, which allows the utility to do pricing based upon hour of usage. They have promised a web portal that will show recent usage data and what it's costing me, but that hasn't occurred yet. All of these are positive steps forward for the environment, and leaves me waiting for Internet controllable/programmable dishwashers, ovens and laundry machines. :)
If you're interested in the PeakSaver program in Ottawa, you can apply here: Hydro Ottawa PeakSaver.