Thermostats and Controls

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Fact or Fable?

 Courtesy of the Public Service Company of Oklahoma

This is a fact. Temperature setback is a well-known way to save on energy. Reducing the temperature when a building is unoccupied allows the heating system to work less, using less energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a temperature setback of 10 degrees for an eight hour period can save up to 10% on heating cost – an average savings of up to 1% for every degree of temperature adjustment.

A common misconception of energy setback is that the heating system must work harder than normal to reheat the space to a comfortable temperature after setback, resulting in little or no savings. This belief has been dispelled by years of research, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The energy required to reheat a building is roughly equal to the energy saved as the temperature drops to the lower setting. The energy savings is realized during the temperature setback period; therefore, the longer the building remains at the lower temperature, the more energy is saved.

 While other factors contribute to the amount of energy required to heat any building – including insulation, windows, ventilation, and climate – adjusting the thermostat is a no-cost, effective way to save on your heating bill. A programmable thermostat allows you to adjust temperatures automatically, saving energy without sacrificing comfort.


 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Thermostats and Controls. Fact Sheet. February 9, 2011