Programmable Thermostats Save Energy Automatically

first_img9 Steps to A Greener CodeNew homes built using the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC) or International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will be more energy efficient than ever. As a consequence, a builder’s world may become a bit more complex and, in some cases, a bit more expensive. STEP 4: PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTATS (Section N1103.1.1)The code: Where the primary heating system is a forced-air furnace, at least one thermostat per dwelling unit shall be capable of controlling the heating and cooling system on a daily schedule to maintain different temperature set points at different times of the day. This thermostat shall include the capability to maintain zone temperatures between 55°F (13°C) and 85°F (29°C). The thermostat shall initially be programmed with a heating temperature no higher than 70°F (21°C) and a cooling temperature no lower than 78°F (26°C).What it means to you:This type of energy-saving device is commonly regarded as low-hanging fruit. It has been a popular addition to many new homes because of customer demand. A typical programmable thermostat will add between $20 and $40 over the cost of manual thermostats. The Energy Star website suggests that when used properly, programmable thermostats can save about $150 a year in energy costs.This code requirement is mandated only for new homes using a forced air heating system because using programmable thermostats with other types of heating systems can cause complications.The 2009 building codes reflect practices that not only increase energy efficiency—air-sealing measures and increased insulation, for example—but also address sustainable building practices, such as moisture control.Other segments of this series:Part 1: Air SealingPart 2: InsulationPart 3: LightingPart 4: Programmable ThermostatsPart 5: Insulating Mass WallsPart 6: Efficient WindowsPart 7: Insulating Mechanical PipesPart 8: Exceeding the Energy CodePart 9: Vapor Retarderslast_img