Smart thermostat company ecobee has launched a first-of-its-kind program inviting its customers to voluntarily contribute their home heating and cooling data to advance energy and climate change science.
Historically, studies using home energy use data have been limited to small groups of homes, but smart homes could allow far more information to become available for research. With over one million customers, ecobee is hoping many of them will opt-in to sharing their data, anonymously and securely, to advance innovations in energy efficiency.
The company’s “Donate Your Data” campaign will collect and share anonymized information – including basic home details such as age, size and occupancy as well as reporting on indoor and outdoor temperatures, HVAC usage and occupant preferences – with leading academic, governmental and NGO research partners across North America.
“This customer dataset is truly unique,” said Alan Meier of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, one of ecobee’s research partners. “We are looking forward to gathering deeper insights on how people manage their home heating and cooling. This is the type of data that will accelerate our research and help us identify further home energy efficiency opportunities.”
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Other partners already on board include the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Carleton University, Ryerson University, the University of Toronto, Resources for the Future and the Toronto Atmospheric Fund. ecobee is actively seeking additional research and data partners for the program.
“Our customers want more than just savings on their energy bill; they want to make a difference,” said Stuart Lombard, President and CEO of ecobee. “With Donate Your Data, ecobee customers have the potential to supply an incredible amount of data that directly supports some of the most sophisticated advancements in energy efficiency, which is core to the mission ecobee was founded on.”