The Future Of...Thermostats

The Future Of...Thermostats

Summary: The household thermostat has always been difficult to program--wasting energy and driving up your utility bill. But ZDNet correspondent Sumi Das explains how new networking technologies will one day connect your thermostat and meter to your PC, so you are better able to track, monitor, and analyze the energy usage in your home.


Topics: Microsoft, Google, Hardware, Networking

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  • knx

    this technology already exist
    it's called knx
  • RE: The future of...thermostats

    When they said that using a thermostat is complicated, I
    thought, "It is? Just slide the lever over to your
    desired temperature. What's complicated about that?"
    Of course, I've never lived in a home that used an
    electric thermostat.
    Garrett Williams
  • RE: The future of...thermostats

    Networked devices have been promised for over 5 years and they still are widle available. Also, thermostats that are controled from a computer have been around for many years. Nothing new in this article; but it is good for someone that has not seen these techs yet.
  • Prepare for Cap and Tax

    I get the feeling this is in preparation of new energy taxes. I love this technology but not handing over control of it to government. Lets be more efficient but not in the name of fake sience. I'm finally getting tired of all this green everything. Lets use technology to make our world better without the fake science forcing our hand. We will feel better about it in the end.
    • Why else except control?

      Minute 3:18 "Soon all your appliances will be networked together and to your smart meter. The smart meter will control when these things will function."

      I agree it would be great if it stopped there. If you could get personal usage report on your computer and that data never went elsewhere... The ultimate question is if your meter controls your house, who will control the meter? Somehow i doubt they will allow us that control.
  • RE: The future of...thermostats

    Let me understand this concept. The Smart Meter is so smart that it will know that I want to turn on the stove and cook dinner. It will know that the load that I just put in the washer needs to be washed, and sometime when I am sleeping and the washer goes off balance----it will know how to balance the load so that it can spin dry. And whenever in the AM, when it has succeeded in this endeavor, it will somehow get the clothes into the dryer, dry them (except for those it will remove when they are still a little damp to hang up to dry).

    This is a lot of horse feathers. The smart meter is there only to reduce the load on the electrical grid so that the power company will not need to install additional power generating capacity to service the growing population. Oh, by the way the other benefit is that they will get a greater return on their dollar.

    Hmmmm... how can we sell this?? Oh, lets use the time worn phrase "Saving the Planet" and say that we are producing a smaller carbon footprint. Ya!! That's it!!!

    However, I do support the idea of making the thermostats easier to use. Then people would use them. I don't mean installing a PC and software to change the temperature. Just fix the thermostat. Remember the blinking time on the VCRs? Perfect example of poor engineering.
  • RE: The future of...thermostats

    This is big brother in action.

    1:00 - Thermostat will glow red when you're "using too much power"

    1:55 - "...allows the Utilities to connect much more directly with our consumer and to manage the grid better". This means the power company will be monitoring and controlling your power usage.

    The "Green Police" live.
  • How about a "smart thermostat" on Al Gore's mansion

    to tell us all when he uses "too much" energy?

    and how about letting US remotely turn off HIS
    lights to help him save money and save the planet?

    After all, its for his own good.
  • RE: The future of...thermostats

    How about skipping the crap on greenhouse gases and
    reminding people that it saves on greenbacks to the
    power company. That is the real reason people want to
    control heating and cooling. It saves money. However,
    they want to be comfortable when they are in the house
    and specifically in a room. Thermostats are typically
    wired through the wall and placed where it is
    convenient to mount and fish the wire back to the
    heating and cooling equipment. How often do you stand
    near the thermostat? Only when you adjust it. What is
    needed is a wireless system with a thermocouple
    located near where the bipeds are actually located.
    The thermostat should be easily programed using a GUI,
    not the industrial HVAC technician method. You
    shouldn't need to hold a manual in one hand while you
    walk through steps with the other. The manuals get
    lost, you see? Duh!
    • Why's it taking so long???

      Yes, there are some out there on the market but you can't find them in stores (internet only), they're expensive, and most demand either a Cat5 running to the thermostat or an extra electric outlet to power the wireless receiver.

      Look, all I want is one I can program on my computer so all it needs is a USB or SD card slot. I'll pop that in my computer, program it, and then pop it back in the thermostat. Done. Why can't someone make one of those? If you want remote access then why can't they put a simple little wireless receiver in there? If they can fit it in my phone surely they can put it in a thermostat.
  • RE: The future of...thermostats

    I noticed how they never mentioned once that your SmartMeter will turn off things such as air conditioners during peak hours of the day and where I live it gets up to 113 in the summer - sometimes for 10 to 14 days in a row and hovers at 98 all night - and I run a business out of my home. Having a SmartMeter that someone else is controlling for my home just doesn't make sense. And, what about my neighbor that is on oxygen? Having a SmartMeter could kill her because it could shut her off for hours. The idea is great but there needs to be a lot more research into these types of things before everyone is forced to have and use one. Saving the environment is fine and good but what about those of us that aren't your run of the mill households?
  • People who can't set something as simple... a programmable thermostat won't be able to use the software, either. When the networked system (which is a basically good idea) starts making decisions they don't like, they won't have a clue about what to do.

    What else is new?