TRENTON, NJ - The New Jersey Senate has passed legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Mercer) requiring the installation of a smart thermostat in all new residential construction.

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“It is very expensive to purchase a house in New Jersey, especially for first-time homeowners who are just starting out. Factor in the high cost of utilities, and that dream becomes nearly impossible to achieve,” Bateman,said. “Requiring smart thermostats in every new home will significantly decrease New Jersey’s energy usage and make living here that much more affordable for those who can help secure a strong economic future for our state.”

Under Senator Bateman’s legislation, anyone who files a permit application to build a new home would have to include provisions for the installation of a smart thermostat. Current law only requires the installation of a programmable thermostat.

Smart thermostats are defined under the bill as a thermostat with a wireless connection that an owner can program to automatically adjust the temperature or turn on or off the heating and cooling system at scheduled times. Smart thermostats can be used alone or as part of a larger home automation platform. Many can be remotely controlled by the owner using a mobile phone from any location.

Additionally, the bill would direct the Commissioner of Community Affairs, in consultation with the BPU, to develop regulations for implementation, including energy-efficiency standards for smart thermostats.

Bateman is also sponsor of a companion bill which would provide a gross income tax credit to cover 50 percent of the cost of purchasing and installing a smart thermostat. That proposal passed the Senate on May 25.

“Smart thermostats can save the average resident up to 20 percent on their total energy costs,” Bateman said. “Austin, Texas saw a massive reduction in energy consumption when they implemented the smart thermostat policy outlined in my bill. We are the most densely populated state in the nation. Requiring every new home to come equipped with this cost-saving, environmentally-friendly technology will protect the environment and make New Jersey a healthier, more affordable place to live.”