Cold House? Electronics to the Rescue!

You wake up in your chilly San Francisco apartment (or any chilly place for that matter), and your first instinct is not to crank up the thermostat several notches (too expensive!). Instead you go to your closet, rifle through an array of sport coats and collared shirts. You pull out your favorite sweater, slide it on, and sit down to read the news on your sleek iPad, warming your hands all the while.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “San Francisco-area households paid an average of 21.2 cents per kilowatt hour (Kwh) of electricity in February 2013, up from 20.7 cents per Kwh in February 2012.”

Electricity prices in the San Francisco area are on the rise and there are things you can do to minimize the amount of electricity that you use on a daily basis.

So why wouldn't you be keenly interested in what's going on at Renesas?

Searching for answers
Drive for Innovation editor, Brian Fuller, is the guy with the favorite sweater and the cold hands, and he sat down with the product marketing manager for Renesas Electronics, Gianluca Viale, to discuss what people can do to conserve energy in their households while being more efficient about the energy they do use.

Viale explains, “You have your house, the thermostat setup. Where you set up, it turns on at six in the morning, turns off at eight when everybody is out of the house, it turns on again at six when people are supposed to come back.”

Usually this is sufficient to get through most days with someone's normal routine, but it doesn't account for unplanned events, like going out with your coworkers after work or a meeting at work that goes late.

“With this technology, you will have you smartphone, your iPad… you just login and you change the program and say, don't turn on until 10,” Viale said.

With the consumers paying, on average, more for electricity every year, doing the little things to save energy will go a long way to decreasing your monthly electric bill month to month.

So instead of running straight to the thermostat when you wake up in the morning, go to your closet and pick out your favorite sweater and slippers.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on Drive for Innovation .

5 comments on “Cold House? Electronics to the Rescue!

  1. Nemos
    November 1, 2013

    Why this thermostat (controller) it makes the difference ? There are plenty of systems that someone can install like the above isn't it ?

  2. Nemos
    November 4, 2013

    Tell me that you don't have a heater in your house ? …..It takes some time the technology from the lab to come to the market and even more time to be adapted from the people.

  3. Susan Fourtané
    November 4, 2013

    I am afraid whoever thought of that little app has never been in a real cold winter. There is no way I would ever consider this for my house. There is no point in being cold in your own house. Heating a place takes time. It takes more than two hours to heat a small place. How long does it take to heat a big house? 

    Such a thing may work for a place like Calfornia, but not for a cold country where constant heating is needed or you die frozen. 

    I can't believe this is even presented as if it were the great innovation. In no way that is a smart home. 

    When you wake up you want to be warm and comfortable at home, not cold. When you come back from work in winter to expect to find your house warm, and nice to enjoy the hours at home after your day at work and then in cold streets. You don't expect to keep your coat, scarf, and gloves on as if you were outdoors. 

    In Finland, the heaters start working at the very beginning of the first cold days and are never off until the end of winter, or until when they are not needed any more. They are always at a constant temperature, keeping your home at a constant, comfortable temerature all day long. This allows you to be comfortable at home, wearing short sleeves even with temperatures below zero in winter. And this is not me, this is how it works for everybody. 

    What they are proposing sounds like some news from a couple of centuries ago. 


  4. Susan Fourtané
    November 4, 2013


    I am really surprised this is presented as innovation, of part of a smart home. It doesn't work. There have been systems like that for ages. I have known systems like that when I lived in Mexico. They were useless even then. And Mexico is not precisely a cold place as the Nordic and Scandinavian countries up here.

    The system is useless, I can tell you that. And it's not new. Not even programming the thing as he said in the video. 


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