ecobee allowing smart thermostat owners to donate their data to researchers

Toronto-based ecobee, which recently announced the launch of a lite version of its smart thermostat, announced a new program allowing its customers to voluntarily contribute their home data to energy efficiency research.

The program, called Donate Your Data, will share anonymized information – including home details like age, size, and occupancy — as well as indoor and outdoor temperatures, HVAC usage, and occupant preferences. Data will be shared with academic, governmental, and NGO research partners across North America.

“Our customers want more than just savings on their energy bill; they want to make a difference,” said Stuart Lombard, president and CEO of ecobee. “With Donate Your Data, ecobee customers have the potential to supply an incredible amount of data that directly supports some of the most sophisticated advancements in energy efficiency, which is core to the mission ecobee was founded on.”

Normally, these studies are done with small groups of homes, but the company says this provides a “turn-key solution” for research partners. Confirmed research partners include Carleton University, Ryerson University, University of Toronto, Resources for the Future, The Toronto Atmospheric Fund, The Electric Power Research Institute, The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

ecobee said that the program will provide a large-scale data set on home heating and cooling for researchers doing energy efficiency studies, accelerating the pace of innovation in technology, program, and policy design.

“Through Donate Your Data, ecobee is helping to fill a critical void when it comes to public engagement around finding energy efficiency solutions,” said Jane Kearns of MaRS Cleantech. “The program brings together people, companies and government to create a network with a shared goal of driving innovation in energy efficiency and making a difference to society.”