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NJ Lawmakers Consider Measures To Encourage Use Of Smart Thermostats

Senator Dick Codey uses a smart thermostat to control the temperature in his home.
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are considering several bills to encourage homeowners to use smart thermostats that allow homeowners to adjust heating and cooling through an app on their phones.

One of the measures urges the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to set a goal of equipping half a million homes with smart thermostats by the year 2023.

Kenneth Esser with Public Service Electric and Gas says those devices could help customers save money.

“We’re estimating it will provide about a 13 percent energy savings on heating bills and 16 percent on cooling bills.”

Doug O’Malley with Environment New Jersey supports another bill that would require those devices all newly constructed homes.

“If we’re going to move forward with energy efficiency measures in the state, we need technologies like smart thermostats. One of the easiest ways to get them into homes is in the beginning when the home is being constructed.”

Jeff Kolalowski with the New Jersey Builders Association says homeowners can reduce their energy costs by using less expensive programmable thermostats, and he opposes the proposed smart thermostat requirement for new homes.

“The basic principle behind the energy codes and the building codes here in New Jersey is it’s supposed to provide for basic safety, health, and welfare of the applicants, and we think that it’s going a little bit too far to kind of mandate these Cadillac version of thermostats.”

A third measure advanced by the Senate Environment Committee would provide a state income tax credit for half the costs of purchasing and installing smart thermostats in homes.