All new homes in Austin must have programmable thermostats

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s mid-October, the temperature is 91 degrees and your home’s air conditioning unit is still running as if it were the middle of June. When temperatures can fluctuate so wildly like they do in Central Texas, having a programmable thermostat can help you save on your energy bill.

Since programmable thermostats are becoming more commonplace, Austin Energy amended its energy code this summer requiring all new homes have a programmable thermostat. The new code went into effect on Sept. 1. Carlos Cardova, a spokesperson for Austin Energy, says the city’s energy code is updated every three years.

By using a programmable thermostat, consumers can save money by simply setting their thermostat when they’re asleep or away from home. Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.

Austin Energy currently has 10,000 customers who participate in Power Partner, the program that allows the utility to control your thermostat during peak usage times. Customers who are interested in the program can earn an $85 rebate.

Cardova says updating the energy code is beneficial for consumers in the long run because it requires builders to build more energy efficient homes. For example, all new homes in Austin must have radiant barrier in the attic, which was added to the code several years ago.

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