Honeywell has announced Evohome, a new smart energy system that could reduce your heating bill by 40 per cent.
Like many smart energy systems we’ve seen before, evohome comes with an advanced thermostat, controlled by a remote touchscreen device. This connects wirelessly to individual devices in the home and to your home broadband router.
This gives you the freedom to adjust the temperature on your phone with a mobile app, setting timers so that the heating is on when you get home and controlling the temperature of individual heaters throughout the home, so you’re not wasting money heating up rooms you don’t need to.
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to Smart EnergyEvohome lets you do this thanks to something Honeywell calls ‘smart zoning’. While some smart home systems will let you control the overall temperature of the whole home, Evohome lets you control the radiators of individual rooms.
Jeremy Peterson, general manager of Honeywell’s EMEA home comfort and energy systems division says: “In the same way you don’t only have one light switch for your entire house, we believe you shouldn’t control your heating with one single switch.
“With the right heating controls in place you really can make your home your perfect comfort zone by setting different temperatures for different rooms, at different times.”
By installing remote devices on each radiator, effectively upgrading the older TRV-style controls, you can control the temperature of each room.
Once you’ve set up a radiator zone kit, it will communicate wirelessly with the thermostat control panel and the mobile app. From here, you can rename each room, as when you connect devices they’ll show up as something like ‘Honeywell 001’ on the display.
This is what Honeywell means by ‘smart zoning’. You’ll be able to warm up entire rooms, sections and floors, whole zones of your home from one device.
Honeywell evohome Control Panel: Hands-on pictures
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Honeywell Evohome: How much will it cost and how much will I save?
Like many smart home solutions, evohome costs a bit of money to get set up, but the idea is that the money you’d save on heating bills will make it worth the initial investment.
The Evohome Connected Pack, which includes the control panel, internet gateway (which communicates with your broadband router) and a single radiator zone kit, will cost around £249. Individual radiator zone kits will cost £77. So in order to control the heating in three rooms, you’d be looking to spend roughly £400.
For some that’ll be a big investment, but given the rising costs of energy in the UK it might be an investment worth making.
Peterson added: “We’ve done extensive testing proving the energy saving benefits of smart ‘zoning’ and having an accurate, real-time insight into home heating.
“With more energy bill increases and erratic winter conditions on the way, we believe it can help UK households make real savings on energy bills.”
Honeywell Evohome iOS app: Hands-on pictures
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Tests carried out at Strathclyde University with TACMA (The Association of Controls Manufacturers) and Honeywell this year showed that a typical three bedroom, two storey UK home with a family of four could cut their heating bill by up to 40 per cent with an evohome system in place, when compared to a home with a basic timer, a non-programmable ‘dumb’ thermostat and no thermostatic radiator valves.
As well as that, the DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) estimates that up to 82 per cent of a typical energy bill can be attributed to hot water and heating. How much money you’d actually save with Evohome depends on the size of your home, your lifestyle and how you use the service.
Being able to shut off heaters in rooms not being used is an obvious benefit, but if you’re living in a busy home where everyone is more often in than out then it’s something of a moot point if all the rooms are constantly occupied and all heaters are turned on.
Even in a situation like this, Honeywell says that evohome will dynamically adjust to your home situation, learning when to turn the boiler on and off at different times of day, allowing the residual heat in the system to be efficiently used, saving you money.
Honeywell Evohome radiator kits: Hands-on pictures
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Honeywell Evohome: What do you get and how does it work?
Read our guides to WiFi and Wireless RoutersRecombu was able to get some hands-on time with evohome before its announcement. We were impressed with both the build quality of the hardware and the design of the app.
The control panel is a sturdy device that’s mounted in a dock where it’s charged from the mains. The touchscreen responds nicely and the menu icons with their discrete colours make it easy to find your way around and set temperatures for individual rooms.
The mobile app basically replicates the functions of the control panel, but comes with a layout that’s better suited to a phone. We were only able to see the iOS app but were told that an Android edition is in the pipeline.
The radiator kits run on two AA batteries each, which should give each kit roughly 18 to 24 months worth of power with alkaline batteries. The radios inside each kit communicate on the 868MHz radio frequency.
Krzysztof Meinicke, product portfolio manager of room controls for Honeywell Europe explained that 868MHz was chosen as it was ideal. As well as low power consumption it’s better at penetrating walls and won’t clog up the already congested 2.4GHz band.
The ones we were able to see are designed to fit on European radiators instead of UK ones. While the ones you’ll see in our pictures aren’t the ones you’ll buy over here, the main functions will be the same. These have been designed to replace older TRV valves, which you’ll easily be able to do by unscrewing the old valve and placing this one on top.
The idea is you can grow your evohome network organically by adding new radiators to your network over time. From launch you’ll be able to install up to 12 radiator kits.
The Evohome internet gateway device, which comes included in the Connected Pack, is what attaches to your boiler and communicates with the control panel and your broadband router.
Despite the plug and play nature of the radiator kits, Honeywell recommends that the initial installation be carried out by a qualified engineer. If none of the radiators in your home have TRV valves, then you’ll probably want to get an engineer in to replace these as well.
Evohome from Honeywell will be launching in the UK in January 2014.