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Scaling Efficient Home Energy Systems

BACKGROUND

Across the United States, about 50% of every home’s energy bill goes to heating and cooling. Most people do not program their thermostats (despite the thermostats having this capability), and often, customers attribute large energy bills to the wrong set of factors.

EcoFactor has created smart software that uses a communicating thermostat, to dynamically manage a home’s heat and AC settings, and to optimize for energy efficiency and comfort. By incorporating consumer behavior into its feedback loop, the thermostat learns the preferences of any particular household on a daily basis. It automatically runs complex, customized efficiency programs, freeing a user from the mental load of managing it. The changes the thermostat makes are typically very minor adjustments, but over the course of a month, several "one-degree point" changes add up to significant energy savings. 

INTENT 

Currently, EcoFactor is business-to-business and its vision is to create a seamless energy experience for residents, ultimately helping people achieve maximum comfort while optimizing their energy use and saving on utility bills. 

IMPACT GOALS 

ChangeLabs worked on finding avenues to scale EcoFactor's reach to 140M households (that currently do not have access to their product), and generate insights for future products beyond heating and cooling. 

APPROACH

A team was tasked with designing an intervention, including the technologies, services, and experiences to enable EcoFactor to further evolve the user experience around heating and cooling. The team looked at best practices in home programming systems, interface design, B2B business models, and “behavioral nudges” to reduce home energy use. 

The team also created a strategy and a roadmap to deliver lasting value on the economic, social, and environmental fronts.