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Ductless Heat Pump Wi-Fi Thermostat Study

Energy Trust of Oregon regularly performs studies on emerging technologies and energy-efficiency upgrades. To understand whether ductless (mini-split) heat pumps are providing the best energy performance and comfort, we are conducting a study of Wi-Fi thermostats for ductless systems.

The first step is filling out an online study application. We’ll send you a $20 cash gift card just for applying. If your home is selected to participate in the study based on your application, you will also receive a free Flair Puck (a Wi-Fi thermostat for your ductless heat pump), valued at $120.

The Flair Puck offers two convenient ways to control your ductless system settings— manually like a standard thermostat, or with a smartphone app you can use while on the go. Because the Flair Puck can be mounted on the wall like a smart thermostat, this means no more searching for a missing remote control.

Homes that are not selected to participate will still receive a $20 cash gift card for taking the time to complete our study application.*

Benefits of Participating in the Study

  • It’s easy and free to apply.
  • You will get a $20 cash gift card just for completing the application.*
  • You will receive a free Flair Puck Wi-Fi thermostat ($120 value) if you are selected.
  • You may see lower energy bills by using the Flair Puck.
  • Your involvement will help us learn how to improve ductless heat pump performance, which will help save energy and money for all Oregonians.

*$20 cash gift card is only available to residential customers of PGE or Pacific Power in Oregon who heat their homes with electricity. Cash gift cards will be mailed and should arrive within 4–6 weeks of applying.

  1. Complete the online study application by December 6, 2020.

  2. Receive your $20 cash gift card within 4–6 weeks.

  3. If you qualify and are selected to participate in the study, we will contact you to arrange for your Flair Puck Wi-Fi thermostat to be delivered.

  4. Install your thermostat within one week of receipt and leave it in place until December 2021.

  • There are two groups for this study: the treatment group and the control group.
    • If you are selected to participate and assigned to the treatment group, we will send you a free Flair Puck, which you should install and connect to the ductless heat pump in the main living area of your home within two weeks of receipt.
    • If you are selected to participate and assigned to the control group, you will receive your Flair Puck after the study has concluded. The date your device will be shipped is determined by your original enrollment date. We ask that you do not install any new thermostats in your home during the study period.
  • The Flair Puck is white and about the size of a typical smart thermostat.
  • Installation typically takes 30 minutes or less—if you need assistance, we have a dedicated support team ready to help. See our FAQ tab for more information.
  • It is important for us to be able to study temperature settings and energy savings in both winter and summer, so we ask that participants in the treatment group leave the Flair Puck installed for the duration of the research period (approximately 12 months), until December 31, 2021.
  • You may keep the Flair Puck once the study has concluded—no need to send it back.
Why was I contacted about this study?

Energy Trust is contacting homeowners who previously installed a ductless heat pump and received an incentive for their project. We also work with our utility partners to contact homeowners who did not receive an incentive for their ductless heat pump, but may still be eligible for this study.

Why was I assigned to the treatment or control group?

Assignments to the treatment and control group are entirely random to maintain the statistical integrity of the study. There is an even number of participants assigned to each group.

What are the requirements to participate in this study?

This study is evaluating how Wi-Fi thermostats for ductless heat pumps affect home comfort and energy usage in Oregon. Requirements for this study are as follows:

  • You must be 18 years or older and the electric utility account holder at your home.
  • Your electric service must be provided by PGE or Pacific Power.
  • Your ductless heat pump must have been installed for at least a year (and still operational).
  • You do not already have a wall-mounted thermostat for your ductless heat pump.
  • Your home must be occupied for at least 32 weeks in a typical year (e.g., vacation rentals or other frequently vacant property types are ineligible).
  • You must have lived in your home for at least a year with no plans to move in the next year.
  • You have no plans to make significant changes to your home in the next year.
  • Your home must be a detached single-family or manufactured home.
  • You agree to terms and conditions of the study, including sharing smart meter energy usage data with Energy Trust.

What if I own multiple homes where I have installed a ductless heat pump, can I apply for each home?

You will only be able to use our online study application once as we have limited the number of applications allowed per person, but if you own multiple homes with qualifying ductless heat pumps, please contact us at studies@energytrust.org and we will help you through the application process.

How long will installation take?

Installing the Flair Puck should take about 30 minutes. Installation does not require any hard wiring or electrical connections. If you need any assistance, you can contact a member of Flair’s customer service team at 855.560.1107 or email energytrustsupport@flair.co.

What does primary living space mean?

Primary living space refers to common and shared spaces that receive the most use in a home (and correspondingly, the most need for heating and cooling).  Living rooms, kitchen/dining areas and open floor plans are typical examples of primary living spaces. Bedrooms, basements and home offices are not typically considered to be primary living spaces.

How long does the Flair Puck need to be installed in my home and why?

The thermostat needs to be installed in your home until December 31, 2021 (approximately 12 months). We would like to collect temperature data across both the heating and cooling seasons, so the study period includes winter and summer. You may keep the Flair Puck once the study has concluded—no need to send it back.

What kind of information will you access and why?

By agreeing to participate in this study, you agree to allow Energy Trust to access your smart meter energy usage data, as well as the temperature and energy information collected by the device in your home. Energy Trust will use this information to determine if Wi-Fi thermostats can provide additional energy savings for ductless systems.

Can I refer a friend or neighbor to be a part of this study?

Referrals are not accepted at this time. We have a specific list of homes identified for this study that meet our criteria. If we open enrollment further, we will notify our participants that referrals may be welcome.

Why don’t I qualify for this study?

For this study, we are looking at homes that have had a ductless heat pump installed for a minimum of one year as a replacement for a previous electric heating system, and at least one indoor unit must be located in the main living area of the home. Enrollment for the study is also limited to applications received by December 6, 2020. If your home does not meet our full list of requirements, you are not eligible to participate in the study.

Will I receive a Flair Puck if I don’t qualify for the study?

If your home is not eligible based on the study application, you will not receive a Flair Puck but you will still receive a $20 cash gift card for taking the time to apply and provide us with your information. This cash gift card is only available to homes that heat with electricity provided by PGE or Pacific Power; one cash gift card per home.

What happens if my Flair Puck malfunctions or is damaged?

Although unlikely, if your thermostat malfunctions or is damaged during the study period, please contact us at studies@energytrust.org or call us at 1.866.311.1822 and we will arrange to have a replacement sent to you.

How do I know this offer is genuine?

You may call us at 1.866.311.1822 or email studies@energytrust.org to ask any questions or verify information about this study. You may also contact Flair at 855.560.1107 or your electric utility to confirm the details of this study.

Do I need to change anything in the way I heat and cool my home for this study?

If you’re selected for the treatment group, you do not need to do anything different after the thermostat is installed. Just be sure to use it to adjust and control your ductless system in place of the manual remote. If you’re selected for the control group, we ask that you continue to use your system as you normally would.

What happens if I move during the study or no longer want to participate?

You will not be required to return or pay for the thermostat, but it may affect the study results if you move or choose to remove/uninstall the Flair Puck. If you encounter either of these situations, please contact us at studies@energytrust.org or call 1.866.311.1822.

Questions?

Give us a call at 1.866.368.7878.