Fact or Fable? Temperature Setback Saves Money

This is a fact. Temperature setback is a well-known way to save on heating energy. Reducing the temperature when a building is unoccupied allows the heating system to work less, using less energy. According to the U. S. Department of Energy,  a temperature setback of 10° for an eight-hour period can save up to 10% on heating costs—an average savings of up to 1% for every degree of temperature adjustment.

A common misconception about temperature setback is that the heating system must work harder than normal to reheat the space to a comfortable temperature after setback, resulting in little or no savings. This belief has been dispelled by years of research, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The energy required to reheat a building is roughly equal to the energy saved as the temperature drops to the lower setting. The energy savings is realized during the temperature setback period; therefore, the longer the building remains at the lower temperature, the more energy is saved.

While other factors contribute to the amount of energy required to heat any building—including insulation, windows, ventilation, and climate—adjusting the thermostat is a no-cost, effective way to save on your heating bill. A programmable thermostat allows you to adjust temperatures automatically, saving energy without sacrificing comfort.

For other ways to save energy and save money, visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/myhome to learn about more than 50 energy efficiency rebates and incentives available to Michigan residential customers.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Thermostats and Controls. Fact Sheet. February 9, 2011.