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$6,215
pledged of 100.000 $pledged of 100.000 $ goal
35
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, April 1 2015 4:59 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated April 1, 2015

Thermoneystat: Control The Money - Not Just The Temperature

This thermostat lets you reduce your carbon footprint and directly control how much you spend heating and cooling your home.

Thermoneystat: Control The Money - Not Just The Temperature

This thermostat lets you reduce your carbon footprint and directly control how much you spend heating and cooling your home.

$6,215
pledged of 100.000 $pledged of 100.000 $ goal
35
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, April 1 2015 4:59 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated April 1, 2015

About

"Thermoneystat"?!?

thur-muh-stat   +   muhn-ee    =   thur-[muhn-ee]-stat

What’s in a name? For Thermoneystat, it’s a reminder of the fundamental focus on the money you spend to heat and cool your home. By focusing on how much you spend, and when you spend it.

What it does

Thermoneystat limits your energy bill. It also helps the environment by coordinating with other units to level energy demand and avoid bringing dirty power plants online. It alerts you if your system is failing. And it does it all with no setup and no fiddling.

The monetary cost

The your current thermostat works is that you set the temperature of your home. Maybe you even put in a schedule, for when you are asleep, when you are awake, and when you are out, and have different temperature settings for each.

But the total cost of maintaining that temperature never comes into play. Not for the thermostat, anyway. For you it comes into play every month when it comes time to pay your energy bill. And if it was just a few dollars, nobody would care. But energy bills can be hundreds of dollars a month. So people care, but have no ability to control it.

The environmental cost

Aside from the monetary cost of energy, there’s an environmental cost. In terms of the extraction of coal, oil and natural gas from the earth. And in terms of the waste products such as CO2.

We already take various steps to use less energy. Fuel efficient cars. Energy efficient light bulbs, refrigerators, water heaters -- even furnaces and air conditioners themselves. But even the most efficient device is going to use a lot more energy if it isn’t controlled well. And furnaces and air conditioners aren’t controlled very well at all.

Thermoneystat controls your cost

Have you ever been surprised by an energy bill that spikes up to $200? Or $300? Or more? Is your monthly bill often higher than you’d like, but your current thermostat doesn’t let you control it? Thermoneystat solves that. Rather than setting it by temperature, you set the dollar amount you want to spend, and it maximizes your comfort while meeting your budget.

By working backwards, Thermoneystat allocates the monthly budget you set on a day by day and hour by hour basis, using current conditions, historical temperature data, the weather forecast, energy prices, and of course your schedule and preferences. It runs the heat or A/C for calculated periods of time, ensuring that at the end of the month the total cost of energy stays on budget, while keeping you comfortable -- whether you’re awake, asleep, or away.

For the first time you can eliminate the surprise and variability in your energy bill and truly be in control of your household budget.

The load leveling algorithm

Do you want to save the planet while you’re at it? Thermoneystat manages energy use during peak periods, reducing the need for utilities to bring dirtier power plants online. Energy use is a big deal. And there’s more to saving energy than turning off the lights when you leave the room. More than half of the energy used in our homes can be for heating and cooling, but until now there has been no good way to predict, control, or limit it.

Energy demand increases when outdoor temperatures get really hot or cold, and when people wake up in the morning and return home in the evening. When many homes increase their energy use at the same time, it causes peaks in demand.

Thermoneystat coordinates with other homes’ energy use using a schedule, so only some houses heat and cool at any given time.  And if certain homes need energy and others aren’t using it, the schedule is dynamically adjusted. This is unnoticeable at any one house, but when thousands of homes do this, it makes a big difference in leveling out the peaks and keeping the grid as clean as possible.

The failure detection algorithm

Does your thermostat alert you if your system fails? Why not? Thermoneystat will perform a “pre-season check” to make sure your system is functioning, well before you really need it, giving you peace of mind and a chance to have it serviced. And it’ll continuously detect and alert you by email or text message if your system is failing -- which is great if you’re out of the house for the day -- or for more than a week.

The ease of use

Does your programmable or “smart” thermostat make you spend a lot of time setting it up? Thermoneystat is designed to save more than a programmable thermostat -- right out of the box with zero setup. You don’t have to go up to it all the time, adjust it, wait for it to learn your schedule, and wonder what the temperature is. It does its thing so you can do yours.

But of course, the more you tell it about your home, schedule and preferences, the better and faster it will keep you comfortable and save you money.

The compatibility

If you have a home in the US that you heat with most anything other than wood, you can probably use Thermoneystat. This includes electric, natural gas, and oil furnaces. And includes air conditioners and heat pumps. Multi-stage units are covered too.

The requirements are to have one wire which is 24 volts AC. And for each function (fan, heat, cool, stage 1, stage 2) to have a single wire each.

Thermoneystat has the following connections:

  • R - power, 24 volts AC

  • Rc - power, 24 volts AC (sometimes present with separate furnace and A/C units)

  • C - common

  • G - fan call

  • W1 - heat call (stage 1)

  • W2 - heat call (stage 2)

  • W3 - custom

  • Y1 - cool call (stage 1)

  • Y2 - cool call (stage 2)

  • OB - reversing valve for heat pump (can also have custom function)

If you’re in doubt, send me a picture of your current thermostat, and we’ll figure it out!

The c-wire

No discussion of thermostat compatibility would be complete without addressing the infamous “c-wire”. It is often blue, or black, but the bottom line is that Thermoneystat does not require it. If you have it, use it. If you don’t, you have several options (none of which involve flakey power stealing tricks used by other thermostats). The simplest option is to separately power the unit using its USB connector. Alternatively you can repurpose one of your other wires to serve the function. This will be fully documented so you or someone familiar with your heating and cooling system can set it up.

The gory details: The c-wire allows programmable and smart thermostats to properly get energy from the R (or Rc) wire. Basic thermostats don’t consume any power; they don’t need a c-wire which is why some homes don’t have them.

Note: Always check at your furnace to make sure that unlabeled wiring is really what you think it is.

The install

There are two ways to mount Thermoneystat in your home. The simplest way involves making two screw holes where the thermostat wiring currently exits your wall. This is essentially the same way that your existing thermostat is mounted, and is doable even by those with limited tools or experience.

The other way to install Thermoneystat is the optional “flush mount”. This allows some of the unit to be placed inside your wall, giving a much sleeker look. The installation process is still doable with simple tools: A screwdriver, and a drywall saw (or kitchen knife!).

The warranty

I want you to enjoy the benefits of Thermoneystat forever. But since forever is such a long time, there will be a 1 year limited warranty. You’re paying a good amount of money for a device which performs an important function -- important to you... and to the environment. And the design reflects that.

The patent

Thermoneystat is patent pending. But you probably don’t care about that anyways.

The USA (as in: Made In…)

So far, all development and prototypes have been made in the USA, and I’d like to keep it that way going forward. It just makes sense to me to build products where they are used. And for it to be possible to build products cost effectively here in the USA.  I’ll be working particularly hard to make sure that I can keep production here, and so far it looks like I can.

The data

Your data is yours. And it’s only used for two things -- to control your energy bill, and to help minimize our collective environmental impact. Your data will not be sold to anyone. You won’t be sold anything either. While this isn’t something that you had to think about a few years ago, these days you have to be more careful with the products you allow into your home.

The accessibility

Thermoneystat runs on the Android operating system and supports its accessibility features, allowing individuals with vision or dexterity limitations to effectively operate the unit. This helps individuals continue living in their homes economically, consciously, comfortably, and independently.

The status

The electronics design is done. The code deep down which makes the temperature measurements and switches the heat and A/C on and off is done. The main money-controlling and load-leveling algorithms as well as the UI are in active development. Finally, 3D models of various versions of the enclosure have been printed and they hold the electronics and mount to the wall nicely.

The schedule

There are a lot of activities going on, many of which are underway and will be happening in parallel until delivery. Below is a simplified timeline of the physical production (the biggest effort with longest lead times).

January - Thermoneystat Kickstarter campaign launches

March - Campaign funded

April - In house testing, Production facility selection

May - Finalize production design

June - Initial production (first dibs units)

July - Final design testing, start deliveries

August - Continued production, continue deliveries

September - Apps available, central server goes live, deliver all remaining Thermoneystats

...and beyond - Energy use and leveling data analysis

The competition

There are a lot of thermostats on the market, many of which perform the same old temperature-centric function. The simplest ones simply let you set a single temperature point. Programmable thermostats allow you to set a temperature for different time periods per day, 7 days per week. Other “smart” thermostats essentially do the same thing, with a nice screen, and wifi. None of them take your energy cost into consideration.

The temperature

When you think about it, using temperature exclusively to control your heating and cooling system is the wrong thing to do. Using temperature means that the energy use of your home is determined by the temperature at a single point in your home, the nearest vent, and the exposure of a single room to the outside air.

So many factors are ignored -- your budget, other rooms in your home, thermostat placement, vent or radiator placement, current weather conditions, simultaneous use in other homes, energy prices, and the environmental impact.

A temperature based approach may have been acceptable at one time, but it isn’t any longer.

The electric utility

Demand response programs are offered by some electric utilities to give their customers financial incentives to reduce energy consumption during peak use periods. This involves installation of specialized switching equipment to control certain appliances (typically the air conditioner, or clothes dryer).

Thermoneystat is the perfect device to participate in these programs. Of course participation would always be optional, and not all electric utilities offer them.

If your electric provider has such a program let me know about it. Support for it could be added as a software update in the future.

But don’t forget -- Thermoneystat is pre-programmed with information about peak demand periods for major regions around the country. You can adjust them and enter energy rates to let it most accurately map your energy usage to energy cost.

The company

The mission of That Makes You Better is to make environmentally conscious and socially beneficial products. Products which have no compromises -- you shouldn’t have to pay more or sacrifice performance to do a good thing. Products which really do the good things they claim to -- and not just pay them lip service.

Thermoneystat is the perfect product to develop. It brings the focus to where it should be: to how much energy is used by the largest system in your home.

Thank You

Please back this Kickstarter campaign. And tell people you know about it. In the end, it’s not going to cost you anything -- by setting the money, you’re setting how soon Thermoneystat pays for itself -- so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

As I’ve put more and more time into Thermoneystat over the last couple of years, it has become clear to me that developing it and getting it into as many homes as possible is the right thing to do.

Please ask yourself this question: “what if I focus on my home’s energy use and control its cost and environmental impact?”

Risks and challenges

The design
Thermoneystat does a few things, does them really well, but really simply. The design reflects that, with hardware, software and mechanical parts which are thoughtfully designed to meet the requirements, while still being simple, manufacturable, and reliable. By keeping production in the USA, this means that quality and schedule is not subject to some manufacturing plant in some far off land.

The cost to manufacture in the USA
I really believe that Thermoneystat needs to be manufactured in the USA. There are a lot of good reasons to do so, and based on the electrical design, mechanical design, and assembly, it’s all on track. To assure success, unit costs are being analyzed thoroughly. Overhead is being kept as low as possible.

One of the biggest factors is volume -- higher volume means better economies of scale. So, I will be doing everything I can to get as many Thermoneystats into homes as possible (and hopefully as a backer, you will too by spreading the word).

The algorithm
A lot of work has gone into the various algorithms used in Thermoneystat. And while there is no doubt that it will handily beat any other thermostat on the market in the areas of money savings, load leveling, failure detection and ease of use, there will be ongoing updates. The software can be remotely updated in the background for the life of the product. (Free updates, of course).

The schedule
Based on experience there are a lot of factors which can delay delivery, from design finalization to part obsolescence to manufacturability problems. Having been through all of them, I’ll be making sure that there are steps in place to mitigate schedule delays. For example, minimizing feature creep will keep the design on track. Part obsolescence is mitigated by having alternate components selected. Finally, with high enough volumes, it will be possible to have multiple (at least 2) sources for all custom pieces (enclosure, display, circuit board).

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Thank You! You're part of something really important. You'll be in on backer-only updates, and always have the satisfaction of having helped Thermoneystat get into the market! Thank you for your vote of confidence!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Thank You Thank YOU!! Clearly you want this to succeed as much as I do! As a reward, I'll call you on the phone and talk to you about Thermoneystat, the environment, or anything in between! Thank You Thank YOU!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Thermoneystat Early Bird: You get one Thermoneystat and save money right up front. Once you get it in your hands you can set it to pay for itself within a year! Thank you for your early support!

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Thermoneystat: You get one Thermoneystat to put on your wall, bringing your energy use into the 21st century! You'll be saving money like never before! And if the environment could thank you, it'd give you a big hug! Thanks for caring!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Thermoneystat + First dibs: You get one Thermoneystat before anyone else does, from the first production units. Start saving money and the environment before anyone else! I'll ALSO call you on the phone and talk to you about Thermoneystat, the environment, or anything in between!

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,150 or more About $1,150

    5x Thermoneystats: You get 5 Thermoneystats, and save $100. And I'll tell you what -- I'll send you at least one from the first batch too, so you can get a head start saving money and the environment! Thank you!!

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,250 or more About $2,250

    10x Thermoneystats: You get 10 Thermoneystats and save $250 -- that's like getting one free! And I'll tell you what -- I'll send you at least two from the first batch too, so you can get a head start saving money and the environment! Thank you!!

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Funding period

- (49 days)