Consumers can save thousands on repairs and energy costs by identifying HVAC system malfunctions early
EcoFactor, the leader in cloud-based home energy services, formally announced the launch of its HVAC Performance Monitoring (HPM) service after completion of a successful HVAC trial evaluating thousands of homes. Using patented cloud-based analytics algorithms and pattern recognition, the service remotely detects, analyzes and notifies consumers of HVAC performance issues. This early warning service is delivered through EcoFactor’s SaaS energy analytics platform and expands the company’s current offerings, which include residential energy efficiency and demand response. HPM can deliver real energy efficiency savings on top of the 10–15 percent savings already achieved through EcoFactor’s patented automation service.
The results of the trial support the widely-held belief in the HVAC industry that millions of American homes have problems with their heating and cooling systems that go undetected – problems that represent big opportunities to save both energy and money. More significant was the finding that many of these issues can be accurately recognized through data analytics. EcoFactor discovered that six percent of all households in the trial had HVAC system problems that wasted energy and often compromised comfort as well. Furthermore, 68 percent of consumers who experienced issues were unaware that there was a problem. Many of the issues uncovered by EcoFactor’s HPM service would likely have resulted in catastrophic equipment failure possibly costing thousands of dollars to fix if left untreated.
“HVAC dealers will line up for this service because it enhances the value of their HVAC service contracts and lowers customer acquisition costs. In addition, keeping a product running at peak efficiency over its lifetime provides pervasive savings, making it ideally suited for utility energy efficiency incentives. Many utilities are in the process of integrating fault detection into their energy efficiency programs,” says Tom Kerber, Director of Research at Parks & Associates.
The mandatory inclusion of Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) in commercial roof top HVAC systems in building codes such as California’s Title 24, effective July 2014, will alter the HVAC industry. The ability to diagnose faults with remote analytics will be a powerful alternative to expensive hardware solutions.
HPM key features and benefits:
• Real-time analysis – Early detection can help reduce the number of catastrophic failures and improve long-term energy efficiency. EcoFactor software detects various levels of performance degradation from small to severe issues such as leaking coolant.
• Proactive customer notifications – Regular reports are provided with information that can be distributed to consumers. EcoFactor APIs can be used to integrate the notifications into existing customer communications infrastructure.
• Customer support tools – Extensive customer support tools that can integrate with current energy audit programs and help increase customer engagement and satisfaction.
• Partner integration – Utilities and service providers can gain a customizable service for deployment on their own mobile and/or web applications.
HPM trial results:
• 95 percent of homes EcoFactor identified as having HVAC issues did in fact have an issue when the homes were visited by a licensed HVAC technician.
• Issues confirmed upon inspection ranged from mild to severe, from coolant to coil issues, improper placement of the thermostat to wiring issues.
• The average cost of repair was estimated to be more than $300. The study showed 68 percent of home occupants did not feel significant enough impact on comfort to recognize there was a problem before the issues were detected.
“Until now, the smartest device in a connected home was a basic learning thermostat that adjusted itself to be more energy efficient when the consumer is not home,” said Scott Hublou, co-founder and senior vice president of product operations at EcoFactor. “With the addition of this early warning service to our award-winning learning capabilities, we have raised the bar and accelerated the move from a connected home to a true smart home. We’re excited to deliver HVAC performance monitoring in addition to proactive energy efficiency and demand response services in one platform.”