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Working with connected thermostats in 22,000 homes in Nevada, startup EcoFactor was able to reduce those homes’ air conditioning usage by 11 percent — one of the highest rates among its competitors — and also saved those customers about $100 per year last year. That means the energy reduction per home, and the energy savings from air conditioning, in its program were more than Nest achieved in comparable projects and produced far more savings than Opower’s behavioral techniques, EcoFactor said.
That data is coming from the utilities commission and filed by utility NV Energy, and EcoFactor released on Tuesday. NV Energy uses EcoFactor’s software for its “mPowered” program, which seeks to lower the energy consumption of its customers during hot summer months in a cost effective way and with minimal impact on the customer.
EcoFactor was founded in 2006 and launched in late 2009. It uses software to pull in data about things like weather, demographics, and home owner behavior. EcoFactor uses all this data to tweak a home’s connected thermostat settings ever so slightly to shave energy consumption, but also to maintain a comfortable temperature in the home. The thermostats can also be used for lowering energy consumption when utilities expect a spike in AC or heating usage during a specific time of day.
EcoFactor’s software is like Nest’s learning thermostat, but without the hardware. EcoFactor can work with any connected thermostat and it runs in the cloud. Customers can also manually override the EcoFactor settings at any time, and according to the results of the study, the program had an 86 percent customer satisfaction rating.
With temperatures across the globe getting ever hotter, expect utilities to start to implement more and more of these types of programs. EcoFactor is backed by NRG Energy, Claremont Creek Ventures, RockPort Capital Partners, and Aster Capital.