Heating and cooling your home is a big contributor to your energy costs and carbon pollution. And these emissions are likely to increase as extreme weather events become more frequent and temperatures fluctuate.
Smart thermostats and high-efficiency heat pumps could have a big impact on your home. A smart thermostat is connected to the internet with many great features that make temperature control really convenient and efficient. Heat pumps use the simple laws of nature to move heat outdoors when you’re cooling in summer, or indoors when you’re heating in winter, with very little energy needed.
Whichever option you choose, installing smarter temperature controls will keep your home comfy, while you cut your energy bills and carbon pollution.
The best way to find a smart thermostat with the features that best suit your home and budget is to use a comparison site.
If you’re installing a heat pump, there are three options: air-to-water, ground-to-water and air-to-air. The best one for you depends on the size of your home, available outside space and your heating system. Talk to a professional about your options.
If you’re not ready to install either of these, you can still cut emissions and energy bills by turning down your heating and cooling, or insulating your home.
Smarter heating and cooling means lower energy bills and lower carbon pollution without compromising on comfort.
Many smart thermostats are so easy to install you could do it yourself! These clever gadgets let you control the temperature remotely, and some even automatically adjust the temperature based on your location. There are many great features available, like voice control, motion sensors for smart activation, receiving alerts if your furnace or cooling system stops working while you’re away, and energy trackers that help you understand and reduce your energy usage.
If you’re installing a heat pump, your savings will depend on where you live and how you currently heat and cool your home. When you use a heat pump with renewable energy sources and you have a well insulated home, you could eliminate almost all your carbon pollution from heating and cooling.
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Heat pumps heated more efficiently in most US climate areas and most heating requirements than natural gas furnaces with a 95% efficiency rating; heat pump space-heating coefficients reach as high as 7.
Heating and cooling accounts for a majority of home energy use in Europe and the United States, and energy demand for cooling in buildings has more than tripled since 1990.
Emissions reductions in this scenario come to 9.3 gigatons of emissions by 2050, saving US$ 2.5 trillion in operating costs.
Extreme weather events are expected to increase in frequency as a result of climate change.
Reduced energy use from smart thermostats could avoid 7.4 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, saving their owners US$2.1 trillion over the lifetime of the units.
Based on science-backed solutions, Project Drawdown identifies smart thermostats and high-efficiency heat pumps as part of the top 20 high-impact climate actions that individuals and households in high-income countries can take.
Impact metric calculations
To determine the carbon emission reduction estimates related to heating and cooling smarter, the following calculation was performed:
Smart Thermostat: (# of people in the household) x (12.5% reduction in fuel use) x [(country-specific space heating kWh per capita) x (fuel emission factor in kg CO2e/kWh or country-specific grid electricity kgCO2e/kWh) + (country-specific space cooling kWh per capita) x (county-specific grid electricity emission factor in kgCO2e/kWh)] = kg CO2e / month
High-Efficiency Heat Pump: (# of people in the household) x (35% reduction in fuel use) x [(country-specific space heating kWh per capita) x (fuel emission factor in kg CO2e/kWh or country-specific grid electricity emission factor in kgCO2e/kWh) + (country-specific space cooling kWh per capita) x (county-specific grid electricity kgCO2e/kWh for electricity)] = kg CO2e / month
For detailed calculations, references and assumptions, please see our Methodology.