Letter sent to Costco: I read with interest your article in the February “Connection” regarding Smart Houses. Like most articles on the subject, it never states exactly HOW smart homes save money…well except for the anecdotal, “forgetting to turn off the old thermostat” when going on vacation. To me, the above example is an exception that shouldn’t BE the rule. Not many people take vacations longer than an extended weekend, any more, and for those who travel for weeks on end, I am sure have developed sound strategies for dealing with absent-minded owners and their climate controls before now. We recently passed through a temperate season, where our heat pump did not run at all during the entire billing period. Our power bill was only twenty dollars less than average. Even a $10 two-week “waste” couldn’t nearly justify the expense in retro-fitting an older home. Also, how much power is used for every single electrical outlet, light switch, faucet, toilet, doorbell and aquarium light to be connected to the Internet? Do we really face an epidemic of people who leave the house with the water running? Let me give you a couple examples: When I turn a standard light switch to the “OFF” position, I have thus terminated the circuit, no electricity flows, and thus I am using zero kilowatts. How many kilowatts are wasted with the light switch constantly pinging my wireless router? Multiply that times the number of light switches…our house has 32 light switches (and thirty standard two-port electrical outlets). …and about that darned thermostat… When I turn a classic thermostat to the “OFF” position (you know, the old mercury switch type, with a metal coil thermometer), I have thus terminated the circuit, no electricity flows, and thus I am using zero kilowatts. The modern thermostats, even when the system is shut down, still require a little bit of energy to power the LCD display. How much additional power is required for it to perpetually seek whether I’m trying to modify its programming while driving on the freeway? Scott J. Smith www.ScottJSmith.com



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