November 12, 2008
| by Lisa Montgomery
Thermostats have gotten smarter. They’re able to adjust automatically to converse energy and stay in synch with your daily schedule. Unfortunately, many of these smart stats look pretty much the same as they did 10 years ago. AMX and other companies want to change all that, by adding some visual pizazz to their thermostats.
The AMX ViewStat is one of the first thermostats with a color display. The current indoor and outdoor conditions come at you in color instead of boring black and white. It’s engaging enough to make you want to fiddle with your thermostats instead of trying to ignore them.
Home Automation, Inc. has gotten into color, too. Its Omnistat2 thermostats come in three different colors: black silver or white. Plus, you can choose from more than 100 backlight colors for the display. If you decide you don’t like cobalt blue, you can change the backlight to red or any other hue by simply turning a knob.
While Crestron’s CHV-THSAT still utilizes a black-and-white display, it can do so much more than just regulate the temperature. By networking the device with a Crestron control system, it can function as a full-featured home control device. From the stat, you can access your home’s lighting, motorized shades and more.
No matter how great a thermostat looks or functions, it’s going to require some wall space. That wall space doesn’t have to be in the main living areas of your home, however. You can opt to install quarter-shaped discs on the wall instead to monitor the temperature of a room. These sensors, which can sometimes be painted over, can communicate with a thermostat mounted inside a closet, pantry or some other hidden area. You’ll still be able to access all the wonderful features of your thermostat, but you won’t have to worry about it clashing with the décor.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.