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How People Actually Use Thermostats Alan Meier, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California Davis
 

Summary: How People Actually Use Thermostats
Alan Meier, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California Davis
Cecilia Aragon, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and
University of California Berkeley
Becky Hurwitz, University of California Berkeley
Dhawal Mujumdar, University of California Berkeley
Therese Peffer, California Institute for Energy and Environment
Daniel Perry, University of California Berkeley
Marco Pritoni, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
ABSTRACT
Residential thermostats have been a key element in controlling heating and cooling
systems for over sixty years. However, today's modern programmable thermostats (PTs) are
complicated and difficult for users to understand, leading to errors in operation and wasted
energy. Four separate tests of usability were conducted in preparation for a larger study. These
tests included personal interviews, an on-line survey, photographing actual thermostat settings,
and measurements of ability to accomplish four tasks related to effective use of a PT. The
interviews revealed that many occupants used the PT as an on-off switch and most demonstrated
little knowledge of how to operate it. The on-line survey found that 89% of the respondents
rarely or never used the PT to set a weekday or weekend program. The photographic survey (in
low income homes) found that only 30% of the PTs were actually programmed. In the usability

  

Source: Aragon, Cecilia R. - Computational Research Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

 

Collections: Multidisciplinary Databases and Resources; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences