Home security and connectivity provider Alarm.com is inching closer to a set-it-and-forget-it energy management system. The company today is making a free upgrade available to users of its emPower connectivity, automation and energy management systems, showing usage patterns so users can better program their thermostats to save energy and money.
The new Smart Schedule Activity Patterns appear on an emPower user’s web interface on the thermostat schedule, showing a colored, visual representation of the likelihood of someone being home or away at certain times, as well as the programmed set point temperatures. For example, one may see that while a thermostat was set to a comfortable temperature, no one was home; the user can then change the temperature set point to turn back the heating or cooling system and save money.
Occupancy data is made available from the Alarm.com security system sensors and triggers, and any changes can be overridden via mobile app control.
For now users must see the information and the visual representation of occupancy to determine if they want to change the set point, but in the future the system may make recommendations or even make changes automatically as the system learns a person’s patterns.
The security system is the only thing that knows whether someone is home or not, if a window or door is open,” says Jay Kenny, vice president of marketing for Alarm.com. “We’re enhancing the effectiveness of an energy management system by making connections work with security systems, and we can give you some useful information to turn your thermostat settings down and save money.
“We’re seeing an evolution in the energy management from purely set rules to letting the system make recommendations based on intelligent information,” he adds.
The feature is available to all emPower customers with smart thermostats. EmPower offers remote and automated control of lighting and appliance modules, switches, outlets, door locks and thermostats. Alarm.com says it presently has 100,000 emPower customers since initiating the service in 2010.
Last year Alarm.com introduced an Extreme Temps feature that relies on weather information to turn up or down your thermostat and automatically save you energy and money.
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates