Based on the success of the 2009 West River Pilot Project, where 20 New Haven homes received energy saving equipment, YCCF scaled the programmable thermostat component of the program in 2010 and 2011 to reach out to more families. In partnership with the City of New Haven’s Green and Healthy Homes Initiative and the ratepayer funded Home Energy Solution-Income Eligible program, YCCF provided 125 programmable thermostats to low- to moderate-income New Haven homes. The project was made possible thanks to generous funding from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. Yale students assisted with outreach efforts to ensure that more community members take advantage of the program.
In 2012 YCCF conducted an evaluation of the programmable thermostat program, with the help of a masters student at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. We discovered some key barriers to determining energy savings and tracking recipient perceptions, found that lower-income people struggle more than most with using programmable thermostats, and were able to produce some valuable recommendations for future similar projects. Overall we concluded that successful programmable thermostat projects will require a training component and simple thermostat models to suit the needs of the elderly and less educated. Read the summary of our findings.