Feb 072014
 
Venstar 2 Wire Kit

Venstar’s New Two-Wire Kit Enables Heat-Only Homes to Be Wired for Digital Programmable Thermostats, Enabling Remote Control and Management of Energy Usage and Costs

CHATSWORTH, CA–(Marketwired – Feb 5, 2014) – Venstar®, a leading thermostat and energy management systems supplier, today announced its Two-Wire Kit (ACC0436), which can easily and affordably convert older, two-wire heaters and boilers to accept programmable thermostats, including Venstar’s ColorTouch® residential (T5800) touch screen thermostat with Wi-Fi. This gives users remote control of their thermostats via the Internet, resulting in greater control of energy usage and costs.

Homes built more than 50 years ago, as well as many coastal homes without air conditioning, typically have just two wires connecting the thermostat to the furnace, electric heater or boiler. Most of today’s digital thermostats require more than four wires to operate the furnace. Venstar’s Two-Wire Kit provides an easy and affordable option to allow installation of programmable thermostats, including ColorTouch with Wi-Fi.

“Having an older home no longer means you can’t have a Wi-Fi thermostat. Now, with Venstar’s Two-Wire Kit, you can convert heat-only systems to integrate with digital programmable thermostats, including Venstar’s ColorTouch,” said Steve Dushane, CEO of Venstar.

Quick, Easy Upgrade Without Changing Major Electrical Components

Typically, when an older furnace was originally installed, HVAC contractors ran just two low-voltage wires inside the wall from the thermostat to the furnace. Because these homes only have two wires in the wall, homeowners had few options for upgrading the older mechanical thermostats. Continue reading »

Feb 072014
 

Graph of presence of thermostats on central equipment, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Residential Energy Consumption Survey 2009
Note: The ‘no central equipment’ group includes households whose main heating equipment is a portable heater, fireplace, or stove, or main cooling equipment is a room air conditioner.

Thermostats are used to control central heating equipment in 85% of households, and less than half of those thermostats are programmable. For households with central cooling equipment, 60% have a central thermostat and about half of those are programmable.

Because they automatically respond to temperature changes, thermostats play a key role in weather-related changes in energy demand. Programmable thermostats can be used to help households set temperatures back at night or when occupants are away. Of course, humans can also accomplish these tasks, and the mere presence of a programmable thermostat does not in itself save energy—most of them must be appropriately programmed. The ENERGY STAR® website provides guidelines for programmable thermostat usage. Continue reading »

Jan 302014
 
zstat wifi programmable thermostat

Zstat, a Cambridge-based wireless thermostat startup that bills itself as a cheaper alternative to the thermostat made by Nest Labs, on Wednesday launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $125,000.

Zstat’s main thermostat product retails for $75 and allows users to change the temperature and set a temperature schedule remotely with wireless and Bluetooth technology. The average homeowner can save between $40 and $400 annually by using Zstat, according to the company’s website.

The thermostat connects to a smartphone using Bluetooth Low Energy technology. It is low-power and doesn’t have a liquid-crystal display (LCD), making it cheaper than Nest’s product, according to CEO and co-founder Christian von Stackelberg.

“You lose the LCD screen with my product, but you gain a major advantage with lower power, so it doesn’t need to recharge as often and it won’t has as many problems,” von Stackelberg said.

California-based Nest Labs, which was acquired by Google Inc. earlier this month for $3.2 billion, sells its Nest Learning Thermostat for $249.

The Zstat aims to give users a faster return on investment because it’s cheaper, von Stackelberg said. Continue reading »