Ecobee adds more smarts to its connected thermostats

From The Verge: Ecobee is announcing today a new feature for its smart thermostats that adds improved home and away detection and schedule recommendation capabilities. Called eco+, this new feature combines some of the Ecobee thermostat’s existing capabilities with more advanced artificial intelligence and predictive algorithms to make heating and cooling a home even more efficient and environmentally friendly. The free eco+ feature will be available on Ecobee’s most recent thermostat, the SmartThermostat, starting today before rolling out to the Ecobee 4, Ecobee 3, and Ecobee 3 Lite models later this year.

The eco+ feature is actually a suite of five different features, one of which is already available on Ecobee thermostats, and four entirely new features. Ecobee’s existing Smart Home and Away controls, which use the Ecobee remote sensors to attempt to determine whether you’re home and adjust the system to save energy, are getting upgraded as part of the eco+ platform and will make their adjustments quicker than before. Prior to this, Smart Home and Away would take two hours to confirm that you weren’t home and then adjust the thermostat — with eco+ they will switch the system in as little as one hour of no occupancy detected.

The other four new features are a schedule recommendation engine; a “feels like” setting that combines humidity readings and air temperature to reduce how long the system needs to work when air is dry; time of use controls to avoid using the system during peak hours; and a community energy savings function that works with utility providers to make small adjustments during peak demand to avoid brownouts and heavy strain on the grid.

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