Smart Thermostat Initiative ImageResidents across northern Illinois are eligible for significant rebates on smart thermostats that can cut in half the cost of the device. Smart thermostats are devices that connect to Wi-Fi and allow remote control of heating and air conditioning settings in homes through smart phones, tablets and computers.  They can help increase comfort, convenience and control over energy usage. As of June 1, 2016, there are eight different smart thermostats that qualify for up to $175 in rebates for customers that meet the eligibility requirements.

These rebates are available as part of the Smart Thermostat Initiative, which is a public-private partnership between the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), ComEd, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, Citizens Utility Board and smart thermostat manufacturers, with the support of the Illinois Commerce Commission. This initiative aims to install one million smart thermostats in northern Illinois by 2020 to “help deploy new technology that embeds energy efficiency in people’s lives, according to the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

Residents can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling costs by turning a thermostat back 7˚-10˚F for eight hours a day from the typical setting used, according to Energysavers.gov. However, most people still don’t use their programmable thermostats. Both programmable thermostats and smart thermostats can be programmed to fit a specific schedule and can have different settings for evenings and weekends, but smart thermostats have more advanced capabilities. Smart thermostats can learn and/or sense what the resident’s preferences are for specific rooms and then make the adjustments, as well as have the capability for remote access to monitor and control a home’s temperature while the resident is away.  For example, some smart thermostats learn when the resident is in and out of the house and from that, build an appropriate heating and cooling schedule.  Smart thermostats have been found to reduce energy use for home heating and cooling by an average of 8-15 percent, according to ACEEE 2015. That translates to $50-$130 annually for the average Illinois customer, according to the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

Rebate eligibility differs for each participating utility, but in general, the resident must be a current customer of the utility, have a working Wi-Fi connection and have a central air conditioner and a natural gas furnace, heat pump or electric heating system, in addition to having a qualifying smart thermostat. Please review each of the utility’s eligibility requirements below:

ComEd

Nicor Gas

Peoples Gas

North Shore Gas

Visit elpc.org/smartthermostatsinfo to learn more about smart thermostats. For information on the smart grid, smart meters and energy efficiency programs that can cut the cost of your electric bill, visit www.cookcountyil.gov/service/energy-efficiency.

 

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