Monthly Archives: March 2016

Short term gains, but long term inefficiencies? A case study of smart thermostats in residential buildings.


Smart technologies, such as smart thermostats, appear to offer a cost-effective approach to transitioning to a cleaner electricity grid. That is to say, they can balance real-time supply and demand for electricity, making it easier to integrate intermittent renewable energy sources into the grid. Brian Bowen (MCP’ 15) offers a case study of Austin Energy’s demand-response thermostat and their Wi-Fi connected smart thermostats. He analyzed the ability of these thermostats to reduce energy consumption during the summer of 2013. While he affirms the success of smart thermostats during peak demand, he also lays out a convincing case for the limited long-term energy efficiency potential of smart thermostats. To read more about Brain’s analysis and findings, please read his thesis here.