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The biggest benefit of smart thermostats like Nest and ecobee is the amount of energy you get to save.
In 2013, ecobee claimed that their US customers saved an average of 23% in heating and cooling costs.
Nest found that their customers saved 15% on cooling costs and around 10%-12% on heating costs – roughly $131 to $145 a year.
Statistics are good and all but how do you know that your smart thermostat is actually saving you energy?
Luckily, these thermostats do much more than just smartly control your home climate. They also collect lots of data on energy usage in your home.
The data is crunched and presented neatly in a monthly energy report.
Both the Nest and ecobee smart thermostats provide an in-depth energy report every month.
Reading your Nest Energy Report
The Nest Home Report contains your energy summary, comparison to previous months and your energy savings.
The report is sent to the email you registered with.
It has 6 main sections.
Kudos, if you’ve earned any: If you’ve been a super energy saver the last month, you’ll see a Kudos near the top of your report.
Furnace reminder: This is a heads up in case the thermostat notices there is a problem with your furnace. E.g. turning off during heating.
You’ll most likely have already received an alert on your Nest app. But the reminder will still be included in the report.
Energy Summary: A summary of how many cooling and heating hours you’ve used this month and how they compare to last month.
Monthly comparison: If you’ve been using your Nest thermostat for at least 2 months, you’ll see how your energy usage this month compares to your usage last month. You can see whether you’ve saved any energy.
Reasons for the change: The report doesn’t just tell you how much energy you’ve saved, it also tells you where you saved it. This can be your thermostat settings, the weather or better scheduling.
If you used more energy this month, it will show you where the increases came from.
Leafs: You get reward leafs when you set energy-efficient temperatures. You’ll see how many leafs you’ve earned that month and how that number compares to other Nest users in your state.
Reading your ecobee Energy Report
You can view your ecobee smart thermostat energy report under the Home IQ tab in the ecobee app or web portal.
Note that you must have registered your ecobee thermostat for at least a month to get the report.
There are three important areas to look at.
The runtime report: this tells you how your HVAC system is performing in terms of energy efficiency or in other words, how much energy you’ve saved.
A summary of the runtime report is shown when you click on the Home IQ tab. It’s the first section.
Click ‘See Monthly Report’ to see the full report.
To calculate how much energy you’ve saved, ecobee compares how much time your system run vs. how long it would have run you set it at 72 degrees all the time.
Essentially, it’s a smart thermostat vs. dumb thermostat comparison.
The runtime report will display your savings in terms of hours and percentage. It’ll also include an estimate of how much you’ve saved in cold hard cash.
Community comparisons: this section tells you two things – how your energy savings/usage compare to that of other ecobee users in the state and where your energy savings are coming from.
It’s the second section you’ll see in your Home IQ overview. You’ll immediately see how you rank compared to other ecobee users in the state in terms of energy savings.
To see more details, click on ‘View More Comparisons’.
You’ll see how well (or poorly) you are doing compared to your state average.
You’ll also see how different modes like ‘away’, ‘home’ and ‘sleep’ contributed to your overall savings. This will help you adjust your settings for more savings.
Home efficiency: The last section of the report is the one you see on the top right corner of the overview page.
Like the previous section, this is also a comparison between your system and that of other ecobee users in your state.
But this one compares something else – your home efficiency.
ecobee calculates how efficiently your home retains heat or coolness (cold?). It does this by measuring how fast temperature rises or falls after the HVAC system turns off.
Thermostats maintain temperature by intermittently turning the system on and off. Once the room gets to the set temperature, it turns off and turns on again when the temperature drops.
If the temperature drops too quickly, it means your home is losing too much heat. You need to re-check your home insulation.
The same applies if temperature rises too quickly from the set point after the system turns off.
After improving your home insulation, you can track improvements using the Home Efficiency score in the report.
To be honest, I love ecobee’s energy report better than the one by Nest.
It’s much more in-depth and goes into areas that the Nest thermostat doesn’t report on. I especially love the Home Efficiency ranking.
Combined with the other sections, the report can really help you make your home more energy efficient. That’s more money in the bank for you.
Nest’s report is also great and very helpful.
Make sure you find time once per month to go through your home energy report and use the insights to make your home more energy efficient.