For those who tested, Ecobee Peak Relief can help customers save 10 percent on heating and cooling bills. By adding up to 23 percent of the savings that Ecobee already claims from normal use, the company now aims to save customers as much as 33 percent on monthly heating and cooling bills.
Ecobee CEO Stuart Lombard said that the feature was developed over a year and a half, using artificial intelligence and indoor / outdoor temperature reading to customize the settings for each home. This is then combined with the utility rate from a supplier of tools, which charges customers different prices, depending on the time of day, as opposed to standard flat rates that go up as users spend more energy.
CNET explains that Peak Relief requires usage rates, and while these prices have the potential to reduce costs, it may be hard to keep in mind the higher demand periods, which are where Ecobee's new feature comes in:
The time of use has the potential to save money on customers and help the tools to avoid spikes in demand. However, many customers find it difficult to keep up with varying usage rates, resulting in less energy savings for tools and potentially higher costs for customers. Peak Relief may be able to alleviate that problem.
So how does Peak Relief work? Let's say that you set the thermostat temperature to cool at 74 degrees. With Peak Relief, the thermostat will automatically cool your home to 71or 72 degrees when prices are lower and let the temperature slowly return to 74 when prices increase.
The feature has two preferences, so the thermostat will either focus more on comfort and keep closer to your temperature settings or focus more on savings and weigh a little further away from these settings when prices change.
Peak Relief is rolling out today, but it seems that the test is quite small and only for "selected customers" in California, Arizona and Ontario, Canada, and again only if these customers use user-friendly prices. However, the company has already said that it plans to roll out Peak Relief to a wide audience "early next year."
Ecobees line of thermostats is part of over two dozen heat and coolers compatible with Apple HomeKit, including thermostats from Elgato, Honeywell, iDevices and Netatmo. At Apple.com, customers can purchase the Ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat, but the company's latest iteration is Ecobee4, which includes built-in Alexa support.