Energy Star says you should leave your thermostat set to 78 degrees while you’re home. Why is the Department of Energy and Energy Star suggesting such unreasonable thermostat settings?
Energy Star and the Department of Energy has released a joint report with the idea of helping you save energy and money. I don’t know about you, but I am always happy to save a dollar or two where I can. Though this recommendation has me thinking my energy bill is just fine where it’s at.
Energy Star says you should leave your thermostat set to 78 degrees while you’re home.
78 degrees in the Florida summer is not my idea of comfortable. This report seems to be created to make you sweat. The recommended temperature to set your thermostat to when you are away from home is a toasty 85 degrees. And the recommended temperature for a good night sleep: 82 degrees.
So why is the Department of Energy and Energy Star suggesting such unreasonable thermostat settings? The answer has to do with climate zoning.
The U.S is split into eight climate zone. Florida is in zone two. This zone has hot humid weather. There are portions of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia located in this zone. However, the two zones with the most densely populated areas are zones four and five.
The Department of Energy and Energy Star determined their figures by looking at the average temperature for the majority of the dense population across the country. Florida’s sub-tropical climate is far from the average of the contiguous United States.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) In July Zone two, and even small areas of zone three, can reach an average high between 91 and 100 degrees. In contrast, the areas that encompass zones four and five have an average high of 81 to 90 degrees during the same month.
The figures for humidity are determined by looking at the averages as well. The Humidity has a direct correlation with the dew point. The higher the dew point the more humid it will feel. According to Meteorologist David Epstein the way the dew point makes the weather feel can be broken down as follows:
The Climate Center of Florida State University shows the average dew point temperatures across the country for the month of July.
For much of Florida, the average dew point stays at or above 70 degrees, making our humidity, at a minimum, greater than 52%.
In contrast, the majority of the most densely populated areas in the northern US have a dew point that stays below 65 degrees, making their humidity less than 50%. This means those densely populated areas may have some discomfort caused by humidity, but Florida’s humidity makes the weather consistently feel uncomfortable.
When you think about it, 78 degrees doesn’t seem so unreasonable when your high is only 81 degrees and your humidity is less than 50%. But when your high is 99, and the humidity is climbing towards 60%, making you sweat two seconds after you walk out the door, 78 degrees seems like the most illogical idea ever.
This report was initially released at the beginning of July, months after the weather channel released its prediction that summer 2019, would be a hot one for the Eastern United States. The summer definitely was a record-setter and NOAA is even calling it the hottest July ever recorded on Earth. While that may seem a bit melodramatic, it does illustrate a pretty clear point that Energy Star’s thermostat recommendations were even unreasonable for the areas they used to determine the “appropriate” temperature settings.
So, don’t sweat it if you can’t handle your thermostat hovering at 78 degrees or higher. All of Florida is in agreement: we will keep our cool.