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Smart thermostats make energy sense

Ecobee smart thermostate in an urban home

Always love a Canadian success story. To that end, I give you two players in the smart thermostat market that are hot news. Get it, hot news?

Ecobee  (see pic above)  is a smart thermostat made by a Toronto-based company that launched in 2007. On a mission to reduce his family’s carbon footprint and save money, founder Stuart Lombard found most of the options available complex and costly.

When Lombard realized that heating and cooling constituted the lion’s share of his home energy use, he installed a programmable thermostat.  Even with a degree in engineering, he found it hard to use. So he decided to build a smart thermostat that helped to reduce energy consumption, save money, and which was easy to install and operate. Ecobee was born.

The most recent model, ecobee4, has Amazon Alexa Voice Service built in, so homeowners can also use the thermostat to tell the time, find a weather forecast, and catch up on news.

Ecobee also works with Apple’s HomeKit, which users can securely control with the Home app through an iPhone or iPad and can create “scenes” so that, for example, the homeowner can start an energy-saving setting by saying “Siri, I’m going” when leaving the house. Cool, right?

The company is also working on ecobee Switch+, which automates  lighting by sensing occupancy and daylight.

Mysa smart thermostatThen there’s Mysa, which means “comfortable” and “content” in Swedish, was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland (no stranger to cold, clammy weather). Founder and CEO Josh Green was motivated by the same thing that compelled Lombard —  a feeing that programmable thermostats because the devices were just too complicated to use.

Mysa thermostat can be used with electric baseboard heaters or fan-forced heater. That may be of special interest to Newfoundlanders: according to Statistics Canada, 47 per cent of  households use an electric baseboard heating system.  That’s less, however, than Quebec, where will 61 per cent of households use it.

The first 500 units are shipping to Canadian addresses now, and the company will begin shipping to the United States in mid-March. Here’s a quick video that tells the Mysa story.

 

 

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