Skip to Content

Ecobee eco+ Explained: How Does Ecobee eco+ Work?

Ecobee eco+

You’ve probably seen it right there on your Ecobee’s home screen. The eco+ icon displayed under the temperature. Have you ever wondered what it meant, or what eco+ does? Hopefully I can clear up any questions or wonderings that you have.

What is Ecobee eco+? Ecobee eco+ is cost saving and environmentally friendly software feature designed to conserve renewable energy by using energy during off peak hours, while keeping your home at comfortable temperature. Eco+ has five features that help achieve this: Feels Like, Schedule Assistant, Smart Home & Away, Time of Use, and Community Energy Savings (CES)

Does that leave you with more questions? The first time I looked at the eco+ webpage, I was wondering what all those features meant. I could get an idea of what they were intended to do, but wasn’t sure how they met their goals. I took the time to learn about each feature, and explain what I learned in this article.

Ecobee eco+ enable screens

How Does Ecobee eco+ Work? A Look at the eco+ features

Alright let’s take a look at those five features that make up eco+. This will explain how eco+ works.

Related Content: Ecobee Smart Sensor vs Room Sensor: What’s the Difference Between Them?

Feels Like

The Ecobee thermostat has a humidity sensor built into it. When the humidity is high, you may feel hotter than the actual temperature. Conversely, when there is low humidity, you tend to feel cooler. This is where the “Feels Like” temperature comes into play.

Ecobee has a formula they use to determine what the temperature actually feels like based on the humidity and the actual room temperature. The “Feels Like” temperature is what is really displayed on the Ecobee, not the actual temperature reading. Any time the humidity affects the temperature reading on your thermostat by more than 1ºF, the eco+ icon will appear on the screen below the displayed temperature.

If eco+ is enabled, you have the option to disable the feels like feature of the eco+ feature set. Just go to the main menu, the eco+ option should be at the top, and then scroll to the bottom and look under the “eco+ settings”. There you will be able to control each feature of eco+ and not just the Feels Like setting.

Ecobee eco+ feels like enable

Schedule Assistant

Schedule Assistant uses AI (Artificial Intelligence), along with the occupancy sensors, to analyze your comfort settings and make schedule update recommendations based on the last five weeks of data collected.

The recommendations are emailed, and the owner has to select a change for it to actually update the schedule. Otherwise, no changes are made

Let’s back up for a minute, and look at what that means.

One of the first things a new owner does after the Ecobee has been installed is setting up their comfort settings and schedule.

Comfort settings are predefined temperature settings based on specific activities you will be doing in your home. Ecobee comes with default comfort settings of Home, Sleep, and Away. I added in a Work comfort setting, although for many people using the Away comfort setting will work just fine. I just wanted a little more control.

Comfort settings can then be added to your schedule. As an example, during the week, I have Work set from 7 AM – 5 PM, Home from 5 PM – 9 PM, and Sleep from 9 PM – 7 AM. I don’t actually sleep for ten hours, I’m just okay with the house starting to get cooler at that time.

So, if I had schedule assistant enabled, it would make recommendations to change the scheduled times for these comfort settings if it noticed that I was routinely following another pattern. I usually go to be much later than 9, so it might recommend that I change the Sleep comfort setting start time.

Again, this feature can be enabled or disabled in the eco+ settings. Refer to the Feels Like section for details on how to get there.

Smart Home & Away

Smart Home & Smart Away uses the occupancy sensors to determine if you are home during an “Away” setting, or away during a “Home” comfort setting. Ecobee will adjust the temperature to save energy if you are away, or make it comfortable (based on your Home comfort setting) if you are home.

Smart Home & Away uses all the occupancy sensor, regardless of the sensors enabled in the active comfort setting. Secondly, this feature is automatically turned off during the sleep setting, when it’s expected that occupancy sensors will not detect a person’s presence.

Now the specifics that actually enable or disable Smart Home or Smart Away are a little bit complex, so I’m just going to take what Ecobee says

SMART HOME

When your ecobee senses someone’s home during a scheduled Away period…

And the following conditions are met:

    The Away or Custom Away Comfort Setting has been active for over an hour.

    Smart Home hasn’t been active for at least two hours.

Smart Home intelligently switches on your Home Comfort Setting for maximum comfort.

How long does Smart Home run for?

When it’s active, Smart Home will stay in effect until

a) two hours pass with no occupancy detected; b) it is cancelled; or c) the start of the next scheduled Comfort Setting.

What temperature set points are in effect when Smart Home is running?

Smart Home uses your Home Comfort Setting’s hot and cold set points.

SMART AWAY

When your ecobee senses nobody’s home during a scheduled Home period…

And:

    No occupancy has been detected for two straight hours during a scheduled Home period or when Smart Home is running.

Smart Away intelligently overrides your usual schedule—helping you save on your energy bill.

How long does Smart Away run for?

Smart Away runs until it detects occupancy or until the start of the next scheduled Away period.

What temperature set points are in effect when Smart Away is running?

Since your ecobee thermostat knows that it will have to recover the temperature gap should you return, it sets the temperature to where it can quickly get your home back to your Home Comfort Setting set points, while still conserving energy. (Typically, 1–4° Fahrenheit lower than your Home set points.*)

Source: Ecobee Support

This feature can be enabled or disabled in the eco+ settings. Refer to the Feels Like section for details on how to get there.

Community Energy Savings (CES)

Community Energy Savings (CES) is designed to save energy during peak energy hours to help reduce strain on the electric grid and reduce brown outs or black outs. These events typically occur during the hot summer months when the most demand is put on the electric grid.

Utilities will issue energy savings alerts when demand is high or is expected to be high. When the Ecobee receives this alert, your Ecobee will precool your house and then go into a setback mode.

Precool means that Ecobee will cool your house before the event starts, so that your house stays as cool and comfortable as during the energy savings period. During that energy savings period, a setback is added to your comfort setting meaning that Ecobee will allow the temperature to get a little warmer than normal.

The amount of precooling and setback depends on where you have the eco+ preference slider set to. That slider can be found under the eco+ settings page for each thermostat. Per Ecobee:

Here is the current relationship between eco+ slider values and precool, preheat and setback:

 Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 
Precool / Preheat 2F 4F 4F 4F 4F 
Setback 1F 2F 3F 4F 4F 
Source: Ecobee Support

CES requires utility information to be provided, which is in an entirely different menu than the eco+ settings. To get to the utility information page, start from the Ecobee home page, where your thermostats are displayed.

  • Click on “Account” in the lower right,
  • “Manage Homes”,
  • the name of your home (“My Home” by defeault),
  • and utility will be the last option on that menu.

Easy as that. (Sarcasm)

This is the last of the fours features that can be enables or disabled in the eco+ settings. Refer to the Feels Like section for details on how to get there.

Time of Use

The Time of Use feature will precool or preheat your home if you have a variable rate plan, in order to save you money. Ecobee will cool or heat your home more when it’s less expensive, and less when electricity cost more. Besides savings money, it is also said that it uses cleaner energy.

The Time of Use feature only matters if your energy provider has a variable rate plan. This features also requires your utility information, as well as your rate plan, to be setup in Ecobee. Refer to the previous section for how to get to that menu.

Time of Use, like the CES feature, also depends on the eco+ preference slider. Per Ecobee:

Here is the current relationship between eco+ slider values and precool, preheat and setback:   

 Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 
Precool / Preheat 1F 2F 3F 4F 4F 
Setback 0F 0F 1F 2F 3F 

How to Disable eco+

Eco+ can be disabled by going into the thermostat main menu, selecting the eco+ option, and tapping where it says enabled at the top of the screen. A menu will open, which gives you the option to disable eco+ for a day, for a week, or indefinitely. If disable eco+ for a day is selected, it will remain in effect until midnight.

Why does my Ecobee show eco+ “disabled indefinitely”? If eco+ is already disabled, it will read “disabled indefinitely.” You can tap on those words and select enable in the menu that pops up if you wish to enable eco+.

For More Details on eco+

Ecobee does a great job at describing the features on their eco+ faq page located here. If I didn’t answer any of the questions, there is a good chance that they did. I tried to keep the answers short and sweet, and to the point. They full on explain each feature in detail, short of providing formulas or code.