It’s the law: All new homes in Austin, Texas, must have smart thermostats

austin texas smart thermostats 36661069  people and dogs with a view of downtown skyline
f11photo / 123RF Stock Photo
Austin, Texas wants to get smart, with thermostats, that is. A new city regulation requires smart thermostats in all new houses and apartments built in Austin, according to KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR Station.

Apparently, the new rule didn’t cause much fuss. “There was little to no objection to that,” said Debbie Kimberly with Austin Energy. “Most of the builders already offer the higher-end internet-enabled thermostats when they’re building homes.”

The purpose of the regulation is energy savings. In line with that goal, Austin Energy also has a program called PowerSaver. PowerSaver is only available to energy customers who have smart thermostats. To encourage participation in the program the energy company offers a $85 rebate on installation.

With PowerSaver, Austin Energy can adjust the temperature in peoples’ homes by up to four degrees during peak demand times. According to Kimberly, in a typical year the company only adjusts customers’ home temperatures about 15 times, usually for just a couple hours.

“Rather than cycling their air conditioner on and off, we just adjust the temperature settings by a few degrees in the home,” she said. “It’s typically indiscernible. We have very good participation rates. Customers really like the program.”

Approximately 50,000 customers are enrolled in the PowerSaver program. When customers drop out it’s usually because they live in older homes and buildings that aren’t as well insulated, according to Kimberly. In those cases, at times, “raising the temperature even a few degrees can make things uncomfortably hot.”

Smart home thermostat company Nest partners with Austin in the PowerSaver program. Nest’s Jeff Hamel said, “We look toward hopefully seeing more cities hopefully enacting more requirements like this going forward. It really establishes a great platform for residents in the city as well as the utility to be able to work together.”

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Hotter than the sun: Chinese fusion reactor claims breakthrough

China’s “artificial sun” has reached a temperature of 180 million ºF with a heating power of 10 megawatts -- six times hotter than the center of the sun. The achievement could mark progress towards fusion as a clean energy source.
Smart Home

Wynd’s new air-purifying bundle lets smart home owners breathe easier

Wynd is already well known in the tech industry for its popular Kickstarter-backed air purifier and now the company is launching two new products designed to improve air quality to inform smart home owners.
Smart Home

Ecobee announces Black Friday deals on smart thermostats and smart switches

Ecobee's 2018 Black Friday deals are live. Ecobee's smart thermostats and smart wall switch are compatible with smart home voice assistant systems including Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings.
Smart Home

Want the perfect turkey? Here's how to make it sous vide

Thinking of trying something different this Thanksgiving? Don't want to set your yard on fire trying to fry that bird? Try turkey sous vide. Here's our favorite way to sous vide a Turkey.
Deals

Make your smart home even more intelligent with a smart plug for under $20

Smart lighting keeps your home connected, helps you saves energy, and makes for an overall convenient living space. If you're ready to step up your smart home game this holiday season, take advantage of this sweet deal on the Wemo Mini…
Emerging Tech

From tornado flushes to remote controls, modern toilets are flush with tech

With the global observance of World Toilet Day on November 19, we take a look at how the modern toilet in our homes and businesses have evolved, and how they are becoming smarter tools in the future.
Smart Home

How to deep fry a turkey

Want to learn how to deep fry a turkey? Our guide will cover what you need, what type of deep frying will work, why safety is so important, and how to know when your turkey is the perfect level of deep-fried deliciousness.
Smart Home

You can now make Skype calls on Amazon Echo devices

Amazon's Alexa can now make video and voice calls with Microsoft's Skype audio and video calling. Alexa-enabled devices can make voice calls. Alexa devices with video can make video calls to computers, mobile devices, and Xboxes.
Emerging Tech

Toilet-scrubbing robot takes over one of the world’s crappiest jobs

When it comes to jobs that none of us enjoy, scrubbing the toilet would have to rank pretty highly. So why not hand the job over to robots? Very soon you might be able to do exactly that.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
Deals

The best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Smart Home

Smoke it, BBQ it, or try sous vide! 6 alternatives to roasting turkey

Tie on your apron – here are the best ways to cook a turkey without opening an oven. These alternative cooking methods can produce a delicious Thanksgiving turkey without the need for an oven.