Following up on its smart heating device and app, German startup tado° just raised $204,287 on Kickstarter to fund a smart AC device and app, blowing past its $150,000 target.
One cool thing about it is that it works with small air conditioning units that haven't gotten as much in the way of "smart" improvements as central air conditioning systems. But it isn't just catching up; it's jumping to the front in how smart it is. "The tado° device controls your AC unit via infrared, just like a remote control, and connects to your mobile phone via your local wifi network," the team behind tado° wrote on its Kickstarter campaign page.
When the last person in the room (connected to the AC) leaves, it automatically turns the AC off. If you've been out of your home, it turns your AC back on again to pre-cool your home when it senses that you are nearing. It also adjusts temperature as you move from room to room. And it has a humidity sensor and control option if you want to keep your home around a certain humidity level.
"tado° is compatible with in-window, wall hanging or portable AC unites and even central ACs if they have a remote." It seems to be the first such device compatible with all of these options. Here's a bit more info:
Despite all of its upsides, the point Lloyd made earlier this week about the Lyric holds true for tado° Cooling as well:
A smart thermostat works best in a stupid house, one without a lot of insulation or shading, preferably one that leaks a lot of air. A well insulated, well shaded and well built house holds its temperature; as noted in an earlier post discussing passivhaus, a smart thermostat would be bored stupid. You don't want to live in a house that is designed so that the AC can crank the temp down five degrees in the time it takes you to drive a few blocks; it means you have a huge unit. If your architect has designed your house with a little thermal mass to act as a sort of energy flywheel, it will actually be fighting with your thermostat, trying to keep the temperature even when the thermostat is trying to change it.
That said, I think these devices and apps can serve some customers and that tado° Cooling looks particularly useful since it can be combined with the types of air conditioning units (window, portable) that are more common in rentals and apartments where the tenants don't have as much control over the design or insulation of their accommodation. (But feel free to tell me if I'm missing something here.)