Partnership encourages homeowners invest in smart thermostats

Chicagoland homeowners can receive up to $120 in rebates to purchase a smart home thermostat.
  • Availability of rebates for smart home devices is increasing
  • Rebate system announced prior to fall/winter months that account for highest heating usage
  • Homes with installed smart home devices should attract more potential homebuyers

In Chicago and other parts of northern Illinois, a public-private initiative aims to encourage more homeowners to purchase smart home devices by offering up to $120 in rebates, which would cut the cost of purchasing such a device ($249) nearly in half.

It’s estimated that a typical single-family home spends nearly $2,200 a year on their energy bills, with heating accounting for 29 percent of these costs.

Homeowners aiming to reduce these costs can opt to purchase a smart thermostat, a WiFi-enabled device that allows owners to control heating and air conditioning settings via smartphones, tablets, and computers.

Courtesy of Nest

Courtesy of Nest

The public-private partnership involves smart thermostat manufacturers ecobee and Nest Labs, along with northern Illinois utility providers ComEd, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas. The Environmental Law & Policy Center and Citizens Utility Board, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator and Illinois Commerce Commission are also involved.

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Under the initiative, purchasers of ecobee3 and the Nest Learning thermostats are eligible for up to $120 in rebates ($100 per thermostat and an additional $20 from gas utilities) so long as they have Wi-Fi, central air and a furnace. Over time, additional thermostat manufacturers should be added to the rebate initiative.

Homeowners can receive the rebate via DIY installation or by purchasing a thermostat through a heating/cooling contractor or utility energy advisor during a home energy assessment.

Installation of smart home devices, like a thermostat, should be a focal point for homeowners considering a potential sale down the road.

According to a recent survey of 4,000 adults by Coldwell Banker Real Estate and CNET, 81 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to buy a home if smart technology were already installed.

Email Erik Pisor.