In a world where your claims never get audited for results

Remember when setback thermostats were going to save us?  Now it’s smart thermostats.  From the Washington Times, EPA pushes for ‘smart thermostats’ as way to limit pollution

So now it’s not the mechanical clockwork thermostats that you moved the pins to set times and temperatures or even the newer electronic thermostats.  Now it’s the smart thermostats you can access through wifi and your smart phone so you have a smart thermostat.  And with this new technology we will save money, lives and the planet.

CHICAGO (AP) – The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made an impassioned push Thursday for homeowners to adopt Wi-Fi-enabled “smart thermostats” as a way to limit carbon pollution and improve public health.

Besides noting the devices save consumers money, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy cast the technology in grander terms, saying it offered an easy way for people to “stand up” and meet “our moral responsibility” to do something about the smog that leads to climate change, premature deaths and asthma attacks.

A new tech toy to replace the old new tech toys.  The reason, not all people use their old tech toys.  An now we just aren’t ending our dependence on foreign oil (with setback thermometers on our natural gas furnaces), we are saving lives and the planet as well as money.  The idea that a political hack like McCarthy can make such ludicrous claims without challenge should be amazing.  She can do it with such glittering generalizations. What makes anyone believe that the people who do not use set and forget setback thermostats will use their smartphone with any greater frequency over time?

Does anyone really think these devices are any smarter than the old ones?  They do what they are programmed to do and nothing else.

In industry, some projects get audited against claims after implementation.  If you are from the government you can keep recycling these tired old claims without fear of pre or post audit.

Maybe that’s why John is really getting rid of his Nokia phone, so he can save the planet with a smart phone and a smart thermostat.


9 responses to “In a world where your claims never get audited for results

  1. Mostly these things are “value engineered” to make them (somewhat) affordable. This means in turn that they break in a relatively short time period, leaving you out of pocket the $200that they cost. (That seems to be about the price point from what I’ve read and seen at the hardware store.)

    Compare that to the performance of a proven analog/mechanical thermostat that costs $20 or so and lasts decades. (Note that I actually have no idea what “dumb” thermostats cost new since the one on the wall came with the house when it was built 25 years ago, and it still works just fine.)

    I’ll stay with simple and reliable, and the cool kids can keep their bragging rights to the latest tech-toy.

    Just a thought.


  2. It’s not the thermostat that will save energy, it’s what temperature you set it for.

  3. I don’t think a programmable thermostat has ever saved me money. When I have lived in apartments with dumb thermostats, I would turn them off before work and back on when I came home – seems to accomplish the same thing.

    While at home, my wife homeschoolers the kids, so we can’t turn the heat off, but on the weekends if we go somewhere again we just turn the thermostat off until we come back.

    At night we turn it down – there is absolutely no programming necessary.

    The smart meters are more for time related use. They want to be able to charge electric car users less whe n they charge at night. That’s it.

  4. I had a contractor install a programmable thermostat @$600 not including installation. I have hydronic radiant floors ( 6 zones ) with a back up air handler on three. At least that was what I envisioned. The air handler back up has never run and one radiant zone has not worked for the last two years. This was prior to WIFI. The new “smart” T-stats could also be hijacked by your local utility or gobmint Energy Department. That’s why I have a woodstove and an independent propane fireplace in the main areas of the house—and live in the country with an easy access to wood. In desperation I accessed the on-line operation manuals which were not available when the T-stat was first available in 2005. Figure that out. Stay tuned.

  5. In one of my engineering classes, many years ago, we had to calculate mass balances for blast furnaces. These were actually mass and energy balances. The basic question, before even starting, was to figure out what was being heated. Of course, the ore and slag were being heated, as an obvious starting point. But the furnace walls, and the air being pumped through, were also being heated.

    So, when heating a house, we look at the air temperature for how to set the thermostat. However, what is being heated? it isn’t just the air. The walls, floor and ceiling get warmer. The furniture gets warmer. Thus, by “smartly” varying the temperature, there is a large amount of things, other than the air, that are having to be warmed up.

    Thinking about this, I now set my thermostat to one temperature, 72F, for the entire winter. Since the walls, floor, ceiling, and furniture are staying at that temperature, the furnace does not need to fight against that mass, just to warm things up after cycling the temperature down.

  6. Hank de Carbonel

    Smart, well I believe they have the ability to be remotely controlled. Not yet in use. Just like your Smart meter on the side of your, the home you live in. If you accept this others can assist you in in reducing your energy costs. You won’t even have to think about it.

  7. They’re hailed here as allowing the energy company to be able to notify you if you leave the heating on when you’re not home.
    Scary concept IMO. Means the smart meter not just has to know what device in your house is using energy but whether you’re actually home or not…

    Next step of course, and not explicitly mentioned in the marketing brochures but talked about by people working on the technology, is for the energy company, and government agencies, to selectively turn off things in your home as they feel fit, which is itself usually explained away as being a good thing because it can allow for cutting the power to buildings right before a police raid on a place hiding criminals or illegal drugs labs..
    Which would of course never be used to deny people use of the internet who’re likely to spread nonconformist information.

  8. Progressives (sic) are NEVER about results, but ALWAYS about good intentions – usually based on pure nonsense.
    “Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good” – Thomas Sowell

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