The real estate market for buyers who want to save energy is already big, and growing steadily. Whether the buyers you cater to care about lower energy bills or protecting the environment, it is important that you advise sellers as to how they can best take advantage of this trend.
There are different types of thermostats available; however investing in a programmable thermostat is a relatively affordable piece of consumer technology that can help owners to save significantly on energy bills. In many areas, a programmable thermostat is already considered the new “standard,” meaning that buyers expect to see one in any home they consider purchasing.
Programmable thermostats vary in type, style and price. We’ve put together a cost benefit analysis that may help you to give your clients the best advice.
Who has programmable thermostats?
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, about 37 percent of homes have a programmable thermostat for heating and 29 percent for cooling. This compares to 48 percent who have a non-programmable central thermostat for heating and 31 percent for cooling.
This indicates a large market for these devices. Considering that programmable thermostats are a relatively recent addition to the consumer technology scene, the large number that have already purchased one shows that homeowners are interested in this technology to save energy.
Are programmable thermostats worth it?
In a case study for Poplar Network, consultant and author Claire Moloney showed how programmable thermostats can be worth it for savvy consumers.
Moloney began by examining a couple of classes of thermostats: the Honeywell CT87K, a manual thermostat that costs $25.25; the Honeywell RTH221B, an entry-level programmable thermostat that costs $23.49; the Honeywell TRH7600D, a popular programmable thermostat that sells for $83.54; and Nest, a “smart” thermostat that sells for $249.
Next, Moloney looked at two claims. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that programmable thermostats can save users 20 percent on heating and cooling costs, and that the energy bills of the average U.S. family come to about $2,200 per year. If true, this would yield incredible savings. For the purposes of moderation, she also includes a Home Depot claim that a programmable thermostat can save the average family about $180 per year.
Programmable thermostats are clearly a worthwhile investment compared to other ways to save energy. At just above $80, the mid-range programmable thermostat pays for itself in less than six months. Nest takes more than one year to pay back. And so-called “smart” thermostats are also able to “learn” a family’s behavior patterns, which eliminates the need to program the thermostat by hand, and optimizes savings.