by Max Rohr
The unique thing about ecobee is how young the aesthetic is. For the most part, thermostats have not evolved at the speed of the rest of the electronics we live with. ecobee has bridged the gap into the age of smartphones. The design, interface, and web portal all make it apparent that you are dealing with a new breed of controls.
In the research ecobee conducted, 77% of programmable thermostats on walls today are not running a schedule. ecobee has found that about 66% of their thermostats are running a program. This statistic is a testament to how easy it is to customize your thermostat’s schedule with ecobee. The devices they have created packs an extraordinary amount of intelligence into something that can be programmed without an instruction manual. The balance they have found is usability and capability.
While the physical unit is the first thing to make an impression, there is a big brain behind the display. You can control something as simple as one stage of heat or something as complicated as a geo system with an economizer, humidifier, and ventilate a room based on CO2 levels. In some markets, you can even add a ZigBee Smart Plug to connect with local utility smart energy programs.
The Internet connection process has been streamlined. No need to hard wire an Ethernet cord to a gateway or call an IT guy. Every thermostat has a Wi-Fi chip built in. If you can set up a laptop on a wireless network, you can set up an ecobee stat. When you select the equipment you are using in the installation settings it will even give you a specific picture of the wiring diagram you should use.
The newest feature that ecobee has added is Home IQ™. On a monthly basis, ecobee will have insights for you based on your heating and cooling usage. With the information logged, it even gives your home an energy efficiency rating based on how fast your building loses heat. Additionally, they use your runtime data to calculate how much your ecobee system has saved you compared to a constant temperature hold thermostat. From a contractor’s perspective, the thermostat begins creating a cost savings case study for your homeowner the day you plug it in.
There is no charge for ongoing service. New software is pushed out to all thermostats for free when available. For contractors and wholesalers, this means no dead stock of old hardware. When you connect the thermostat to the Internet it immediately downloads the latest software.
ecobee apps are available for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry.