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Technology & Innovation

Achieving savings with smart thermostats, and sparking the energy transition cost-effectively

Experts and industry stakeholders alike agree that there is huge potential for energy savings in the existing building stock. However, without the professional housing industry the energy and heating transition cannot succeed. To date, though, real estate has lagged dramatically behind on the decarbonisation front, and much greater efforts will be needed to achieve the goal set by politicians of reducing all CO2 emissions to net zero by 2045 in Germany and by 2050 in Europe. 

Smartly controlled, low-carbon heating, electricity generated from renewable energy and improved insulation will all play key roles in decarbonising households.

Christopher Lewis, Gemserv-Analyst

Since the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine, people have become highly sensitised to the issue of energy savings. This is because the huge increase in energy costs is forcing us to be more aware of our use of this valuable resource, and consumers are showing a tangible desire to make savings. It makes sense to capitalise on this tailwind. If owners, landlords and residents pull together on the issue of saving energy, benefits will accrue for everyone involved: costs, energy consumption and CO2 emissions will be cut, and buildings will become smart. What role do smart thermostats play in this and do they really make sense?

Smart thermostats far ahead in a comparison of measures

But what can those involved do to save more energy? The best way to achieve this is with the aid of short-term, cost-effective and yet effective measures. On behalf of tado°, the consulting firm Gemserv has examined ways in which heating costs can be kept as low as possible and how CO₂ savings can take effect quickly throughout Europe, and has come to a surprisingly clear conclusion: intelligent thermostats are by some distance the most cost-effective way of saving energy. They enable heating energy to be saved, thus cutting CO₂ emissions, throughout the building stock across all types of residential building. This is because they offer a number of advantages as compared with the other measures looked at, such as thermal insulation, photovoltaics and heat pumps. Smart thermostats for energy savings can be installed quickly and easily, and are comparatively cheap. This means that an intelligent thermostat pays for itself in little more than a year, with 100 euros in investment costs reducing annual fuel costs by 87 euros. A comparison of measures shows that thermal insulation offers an annual saving of a mere two euros per 100 euros invested, while the figure is nine euros for photovoltaics, and heating may even become slightly more expensive through the use of heat pumps. 

Intelligent thermostats are also far ahead in cutting greenhouse gas emissions: With their help, every 100 euros invested yields an annual reduction of 281 kilograms of CO₂, many times more than for any other measure. The figure for thermal insulation is five kilograms , for photovoltaics four kilograms and for heat pumps 26 kilograms.

Smart thermostats are indispensable for energy savings and a cornerstone on the road to the smart building: If owners combine them with other intelligent tools, an ordinary building quickly becomes a smart building offering attractive energy and cost saving benefits for all parties involved. Owners and landlords make fast progress in decarbonising their residential housing stock, and the CO₂ levy is reduced for a comparatively low investment cost. Residents benefit from lower heating consumption and, thanks to smart thermostats, do not have to forego their accustomed comfort levels in order to make savings. This brings the energy transition within reach in the existing building stock, and climate-friendly living becomes ever more entrenched. 

To overview

Thomas Ahlborn

Head of Corporate Marketing, noventic group

Since 2013, Thomas Ahlborn has held various positions for companies of the noventic group, focusing on the theme of new supply concepts for neighbourhoods and buildings.

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