July 23, 2012
| by Steven Castle
Control company URC, the makers of some really cool remotes, is rolling out an energy management portion of its Total Control home control system, with a THZ-100 two-way communicating thermostat. URC’s Total Control systems allow one-platform control over lighting, audio/video, security and now HVAC.
What’s the big deal about a thermostat on a control system? Only that about 40 percent of a home’s energy usage is heating and cooling, so having automated thermostat control can save you a significant amount of energy and money.
The THZ-100 seven-day programmable thermostat connects to the Total Control system wirelessly, enabling users can check their home’s temperature, adjust temps and reprogram the thermostat via handheld and in-wall Total Control controllers or via an iPhone, iPad and iPod touch apps. For those seeking an old-school approach, the thermostat also has five hard buttons on its face. The 2-inch colored LCD display glows different colors when heating, cooling or in transition.
The THZ-100 also offers what URC calls “Intelligent Comfort Recovery.” When users set schedules, Intelligent Comfort Recovery monitors the current environment and then slowly heats or cools accordingly, with dollar-saving efficiency, until it reaches the preset, says URC. Additional features include password protection for homes or businesses where access must be limited, and optional wired remote sensors to increase efficiency and accuracy of programmed temperature adjustments.
“The automation possibilities are endless,” says Doug Cole, senior vice president and general manager of URC. “For example, the drapes can automatically close when the air conditioner kicks in, to help cool the building more quickly and save energy.”
The THZ-100 is programmable via the Internet via the MRX-10 Advanced Network System Controller. Like all Total Control products, the THZ-100 is programmed using URC’s Accelerator software. A mounting template, bracket and screws are included in the $250 MSRP.
Total Control systems are dealer-installed, however, and not for the DIYer. This year alone URC has released the DMS-AV networked home theater amplifier and SNP-1 network streaming device for the Total Control system, which homeowners can get into at about $1,000-plus, not including labor charges. The company now has an entire suite of products, including handheld and in-wall controllers.
Earlier this year we reported that URC was also working on an energy monitoring component to Total Control:
An energy monitoring function, for example, will be available at no charge and works with The Energy Detective (TED) energy measuring device that is installed at the electrical service entrance. (You’ll have to pay for the TED device.) URC network series remotes KP-4000, MX-5000 and MX-6000 have worked with the TED 5000 energy monitor for a while.
We still hope to see an energy monitoring function with Total Control, but the THZ-100 is a great way to get those who want home control into energy-saving energy management.
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