Ecobee is piloting a new feature called Peak Relief which saves even more electricity than the smart thermostat already can. The feature automatically cuts down on everything using a lot of electricity during times when electricity rates are highest. All of this is done without compromising on your preferences and comfort level.
Although the smart thermostat market’s largely controlled by Google, that isn’t discouraging Ecobee from trying to compete. The Peak Relief feature is perhaps a direct answer to Google’s Nest’s peak-hour energy saving solutions. Competition aside, it’s a great feature to have in any smart thermostat as electricity bills can be horrendously high at times.
How does it work?
The peak relief feature ensures there’s no adjustment to the settings and comfort levels you like during peak-hours by adjusting the cooling and heating during lower rates. If you want a specific heat level during peak times, it’ll increase the temperature during non-peak times and let the temperature slowly come down during peak hours which balances everything out all while meeting the requirements you set.
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Similarly, for cooling temperatures, it increases the AC performance during low hours to make the environment cooler than what you want, so that when peak hours come around, the temperature slowly goes back to what you wanted in the first place.
According to EcoBee’s CEO: “Your home is a battery already; it’s a thermal battery”. Ecobee’s devices use artificial intelligence and data readings from inside and outside your house to give you the best experience possible. It’s a neat use of software that lets users customize their peak relief experience depending on their location.
The feature also comes with two preferences. One is the comfort level preference, which is the one described above. It tries to stay true to your preferences as much as possible whilst saving as much electricity as possible. The other is focused primarily on saving electricity and it may steer away from your optimal settings. Given that many people have a hard time keeping a track of their time-of-use in order to save electricity, peak relief might be the solution.
Who can use this feature?
Anyone who lives in either Arizona, California and the Canadian province of Ontario and owns an Ecobee 3, Ecobee 3 Lite or the Ecobee 4 thermostats can use the peak relief feature. There’s an additional constraint that people who have electric cooling/heating, as well as hour-by-hour utility billing, can only use this feature.
Although the software is pretty good, as it’ll be able to save you an additional 10% on top of the savings Ecobee already makes for you, it’s still pretty limited in terms of availability. However, with time it’ll eventually be available to more people. For now, if you fit the criteria above, you can enjoy using your AC without worrying about high electricity bills.