Frequently Asked Questions
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Connected Savings is an innovative application of our hyperlocal weather data combined with smart meter data and/or data from connected devices (like Wi-Fi thermostats) to automatically deliver energy efficiency in any weather, the #1 driver of home energy use. A complete IDSM platform, Connected Savings enables Utilities to meet EE, DR and customer engagement goals.
Anyone with a supported connected thermostat or smart meter from a partner utility can use Connected Savings. We never reject anyone for having too small of a dwelling.
Pricing will vary state-to-state and depend on which energy partner brings Connected Savings to market. To make the most of the program, customers will need a smart meter and/or a connected thermostat that is compatible with our service.
It depends on the house, the weather and thermostat settings. We have demonstrated a total home energy savings of 10% across the country! Connected Savings optimizes around the Homeowner’s settings – maximizing energy savings while minimizing the impact to comfort.
Connected Savings uses data from a connected thermostat or smart meter, and hyperlocal weather data to develop a custom energy model of buildings to understand how each one responds to varying weather conditions. Using this model, Connected Savings then sends optimized thermostat schedules to participating thermostats each day based on the forecasted weather, the thermal properties of the building, and a customer’s selected comfort settings. The result is lower energy use and costs without sacrificing customer comfort. In certain areas, the energy saved by Connected Savings helps to reduce strain on the electric grid during periods of high energy demand. Our system also facilitates customers setting deeper thermostat setbacks.
Sure, if you have a bunch of time on your hands, are into integrals and heat transfer equations, and really enjoy analyzing large volumes of data. Or you can leave the number-crunching to us and go out and enjoy life. (Disclaimer: Previous sentence not meant to insult the weather and math geeks among us – we love/are one of you!)
The problem with programmable thermostats is that few people know or have the time to program them for optimal energy use. Connected Savings knows and will do it every day with unmatched precision. Not only does Connected Savings optimize thermostat settings each day, we also recalculate settings on-the-fly if the weather develops differently than forecasted!
Yes, it does. The HVAC systems you purchase and the quality of construction and materials in your house matter more. But beyond that, temperature, humidity, wind, and solar are the next largest factors in determining how much you pay to keep a home comfortable day and night. Therefore, a more precise understanding of current and expected local weather conditions, and how a home will react to them allows Connected Savings to optimize energy use and lower energy bills.
Weather has a big impact to the thermodynamics of every building – changing how long it takes to heat up or cool down; how much heat or cooling is lost through walls, windows and cracks; and how much energy is required to keep occupants comfortable. For example, the amount of energy an air conditioning unit uses to cool a building varies with outside air temperature. The hotter it is outside, the harder the air conditioner has to work to keep the building cool.
The two main differences are that Connected Savings makes customer comfort its No. 1 priority and that it’s powered by the world’s largest real-time weather network. We believe that keeping people comfortable is the key to maximizing program participation and, ultimately, the total amount of energy saved. In the end, it is the hyperlocal weather conditions and forecasts that allow Connected Savings to minimize energy use and maximize savings without sacrificing comfort.
You could, but it’s just a set of thermodynamic equations and associated variables. Better than that, we can show you the applied results of your model in the form of our Energy ScoreCard that compares the energy efficiency of your house with similar houses, and provides specific suggestions to make your home more energy efficient and get the biggest bang for your buck.
Good question. Connected Savings continuously updates the energy model of properties with new data that accounts for changes as well as the seasons, so the impacts of any changes you make will be captured by the model in order to provide maximum savings and maximum comfort.
To un-enroll or opt-out of any Connected Savings program, please send your request via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
This process can take up to 5 business days. We’ll need you to tell us the email address you registered with, and if able, any information you want to share with us to help make Connected Savings better.
Under certain conditions, such as a very hot summer day when everyone is blasting their air conditioner, the electric grid becomes strained by excessive demand. This can strain the power infrastructure causing dirtier fuel sources to come online, and in extreme cases, the grid can run short on power supply, leading to brownouts or blackouts. During these times and when demand approaches capacity, your Utility may ask you to turn your usage down to help keep costs low and the grid stable — this is called Demand Response.
In the worst case, a grid emergency can lead to a blackout that leaves you and your family with no power (no lights, no air conditioning, no heat, etc.). Not to mention the economic toll a blackout can have on local businesses. If we all chip in, we can prevent this from happening. The alternative is to build more power plants and grid infrastructure, but we’d all have to pay for that in the form of higher electric bills and the impact to the environment!
Connected Savings manages the thermostat settings of users before, during and after grid emergencies in order to reduce energy use during periods of peak demand. Connected Savings precools or preheats properties in advance of the warmest or coldest part of the day, and rotates cooling/heating across all houses in the program, to stabilize energy consumption and costs, but still keep properties within a few degrees of a customer’s comfort settings.
That depends on the weather, the location and other factors, and will be detailed in the terms and conditions of the agreement with us. We limit the number of times you will be asked to help (i.e., the number of times we’ll allow your property to get warmer or cooler than the comfort settings). Again, even during grid emergencies, Connected Savings keeps properties within a few degrees of a customer’s comfortable setting.
Yes! We recognize that (unlike ours) lives do not revolve around the stability of the electric grid, so users can opt-out of a particular grid emergency event at any time. Opting out of an event can be done at the thermostat or its web portal or mobile app. Simply change the temperature during an event to cancel it. The number of times you can opt-out per season is in our specific Terms and Conditions agreement.
To opt-out of the Connected Savings program entirely, send an opt-out email request to email@example.com
You’re absolutely right – it is your data, and we treat it accordingly. This means using industry-standard security to ensure your data does not get compromised. We will not share with, or resell your data to anyone not required to operate the Connected Savings service. The majority of your data will be kept in our databases for no more than 60 days. For some special interest days (such as those with extreme weather conditions) we will keep your data up to 180 days in order to help us improve our models. Anonymized data will be kept indefinitely.
Anonymized data means we keep statistics about the results of the program that cannot be attributable to a particular person, family, house or neighborhood. We remove the name and address, and roll-up the results into statistical averages that help us track the results of the program.
We provide a monthly digital energy audit (Energy ScoreCard) for homes. To evaluate how a property withstands the elements, our ScoreCards provide insight into a property’s energy efficiency with a customized energy audit, comparison to similar neighbors, and a bill forecast for the next month. We offer energy-saving tips based on your specific consumption, efficiencies, and habits. If you have a supported Wi-Fi thermostat, we will even rate the efficiency of your thermostat setpoint schedules and suggest temperatures to set to increase savings.
We use our real-time weather network to help determine and filter each of the three loads that make up your energy profile. During the summer, the base load is determined by looking at low and constant energy readings when heat should be leaving your property (mostly in the early mornings) throughout the month. The HVAC load is determined by examining times of high outdoor heat, where heat is entering your property and you likely have the air conditioner running.
Once these two main load signatures are determined, your property’s energy profile is reevaluated and updated, then correlated against our algorithms, which include a database of standard appliance loads and usage profiles. We then average your property’s monthly energy breakdown to show your average day’s energy profile.
You can download and/or email your ScoreCards when accessing them from a computer. Under each ScoreCard, you will find links allowing you to either download or email. To print, click on the thumbnail image of the ScoreCard you want to print, then press CTRL+P (on a PC) or Command+P (on a Mac).
Please note, on an iOS or Android device, you can only email your ScoreCards.
Our ScoreCards come in many different flavors depending on the availability of data. For instance, if we have access to smart meter data, users will get one version of a ScoreCard while another version will be received if we only have thermostat data from a thermostat manufacturer.
During months when minimal HVAC is being used (typically spring and fall), you will receive a Regional ScoreCard. This ScoreCard offers insights for an entire region, not for a specific property.
Users may also receive an Onboarding ScoreCard. This version precedes a personalized ScoreCard and identifies each section of the ScoreCard so users know what to expect the following month.
First, we build an energy model of the property using hyperlocal weather data and energy usage data from a smart meter or Wi-Fi thermostat. This model identifies the various energy flows through a property that requires the HVAC system to maintain a comfortable temperature.
For example, the Insulation score is determined by looking at the conduction energy and how your property responds on the hottest days. The Shading score is based on how much cooling is required to combat the solar energy and overall energy on the sunniest days. We do not actually look at your property or know how it was constructed — rather, the scores are based on estimates inferred from the data.
Scores will typically change because our models have now seen even more diverse weather conditions to better assess the efficiency of properties. Scores can also change because of behavior and/or seasonal changes. We prevent scores from being influenced by uncharacteristically high or low consumption days (such as days you have social gatherings or are away on vacations), but on rare occasions, these can still have an impact.
We first create an efficient schedule to match a user’s average thermostat schedule over the past month using regional and seasonal recommended setpoints. Then periods of energy waste (when the average schedule would drive higher energy consumption) and savings (when the average schedule would drive lower energy consumption) are calculated and compared to score the schedule.