Read this roundup for a review of some of the latest thermostat models on the market for both residential and commercial applications.
RESIDENTIAL THERMOSTATSThe ecobee Smart Thermostat, which debuted in January 2009, is a programmable seven-day thermostat with a touchscreen. It is Internet-enabled so customers can connect to their thermostats using an iPhone/iPod Touch app or web portal. The Smart Thermostat also features regular software updates, five-day live weather feeds, and proprietary algorithms. To make installation easy and consistent, it is based on a four-wire install, and wiring diagrams are available on the thermostat. ecobee also aims to help contractors strengthen their customer relationships by enabling them to send branded service reminders and manage all of their registered ecobee thermostats from a computer.
Emerson released its Emerson® Blue™ Easy Reader thermostat last year with display characters and numbers twice as large as other Emerson thermostats for enhanced user readability. The Blue Easy Reader includes a 6-square-inch back display with 1-inch characters for communicating room temperature, and ½-inch characters for other communications. Other features of the Emerson Blue Easy Reader thermostat include homeowner-specified names on buttons and a simple-to-follow manual. The Blue Easy Reader ships in an easy-to-use nonprogrammable setting with a seven-day programming option available.
Introduced to the market last month, the new Prestige® IAQ thermostat from Honeywell is expected to begin shipping in mid-September. The Prestige is a high-definition, full-color, touchscreen, wireless-enabled programmable thermostat. Its patented, interview-based interface walks a homeowner through the set-up process by asking a series of questions such as “what time does the first person wake-up in the morning?” or “what time do you go to sleep at night?” According to Honeywell, the homeowner’s answers help the thermostat program itself without the need for an owner’s manual. In consumer testing, Honeywell said the Prestige was rated 10 times easier to use and program than other thermostats because of its visual clarity and graphical user interface.
The PSP711TS is one of three programmable touch screen models from Lux. LuxPRO’s touchscreen series ranges from 1H/1C to 3H/2C cooling and heating or heat pump. Lux says that its programmable thermostat line offers easy programming and configuration, and is rich with other features. These include humidity control, dual-fuel capability (with optional wireless OD sensor), IAQ blower control, coded keyboard lock, vacation mode, energy watch, and filter monitor.
COMMERCIAL THERMOSTATSecobee released its Energy Management System in April 2010, which the manufacturer claims is ideal for “in-between” applications. This system is designed to fill the gap for an application where a simple programmable thermostat does not provide adequate controls and functionality, but a full-scale building automation system is too complex and cost prohibitive. Through a dedicated management portal in the energy management system, users can remotely monitor, identify, analyze, and troubleshoot performance issues. They can also manage the temperature and operational settings from a central location and take action without having to send a technician on-site. Users can manage an unlimited number of thermostats in multiple locations across diverse geographies, yet the configuration protocol allows the flexibility to provide each user with varying degrees of accessibility and operating permissions.
The Comfort System™ T-32-P™ universal thermostat was brought to the market in the fall of 2009 by Jackson Systems. The T-32-P is compatible with most residential and commercial HVAC systems and is ideally suited for use with Comfort System zoning systems. According to Jackson Systems, the thermostat offers intuitive operation and performance at an affordable price. Its features designed for commercial applications include the following: the ability to have two or four schedules a day, adjustable set point limits, keypad lockout, smart fan logic, and an integrated Modbus option allowing for web-based monitoring and control. The T-32-P is compatible with 1H/1C up to 3H/2C dual-fuel systems. The PSP722E from Lux is a 3H/2C universal programmable thermostat, which the manufacturer says is ideally featured and priced for the commercial market. It boasts auto changeover capability as well as programmable IAQ intermittent blower, filter monitor, coded keyboard lock, upper and lower temperature limits, energy usage monitor and much more. The PSP722E is one of five models in LuxPRO’s ProFit Series.