Ontario Is Giving Away 100,000 Smart Thermostats

Ontario wants you to get smart with your home’s heating and cooling system.

The province of Ontario is offering up to 100,000 smart thermostats to homeowners at no cost. Someone will even come to your home and install it for you. This is all in a bid to cut greenhouse gas emissions over the long run.

These free smart tech offerings come from a $40 million program that was announced by Chris Ballard, the environment and climate change minister. That $40 million is part of the new and much larger $377 million Green Ontario Fund.

The thermostats given out range in price from $200 to $350 depending on make and model. Prospective recipients will most likely clamour to have one in their homes as they have proven to lower overall heating and cooling costs. This in turn lowers carbon emissions as well, fulfilling the government’s overall goal of creating an environmentally clean province. You can link the smart devices to your phone and control temperatures remotely. Models from Nest and the Toronto-based Ecobee will be some of the choices homeowners can choose. Late last year Ecobee launched a smaller lite version of its flagship thermostat.

The announcement came yesterday at the Artscape Wychwood Barns in Toronto, and Ballard shared an amusing anecdote about his family dealings with air conditioning.

“My kids would come home on a hot, sweaty spring day, and, you’ll note, there’s more and more hot, sweaty spring days. I’d be at work and they’d immediately crank up the air-conditioning,” said Ballard. “I would get a notification on my smartphone about some activity going on and I would quietly dial back down the air-conditioning numbers. They didn’t even know what had gone on.”

Homeowners and tenants can register now for the program, which should kick off in the fall after a few more details are sussed out. The program is open to those that live in detached, semi-detached, townhomes or row homes. If you want to register, head here, but be warned it is on a first-come first-served basis.

There are other programs on offer through that same site as well, and more to come after the thermostat program finishes up.

The Ontarian government said that homeowners can save as much as 15 per cent off their energy bills by simply adjusting the temperature when no one is home.