Care about comfort and reducing emissions?

We are seeking participants for a thermal comfort and behavior study.

This study is funded by the Department of Energy to understand how people interact with their thermostats to control the heating and cooling systems in their homes. This is important because electrifying heating and cooling systems in homes and powering these systems with renewable energy is an essential strategy for mitigating climate change. We are conducting a two year pilot study of homes in Massachusetts and Colorado, with the possibility of expanding to conduct pilot studies in other states.

The challenge is that our contemporary electric grid cannot control the generation of renewable energy (e.g., wind and solar power) as it can non-renewable sources like natural gas or coal. Therefore, innovations are needed for greater flexibility to control household energy use (or demand) as we transition to renewable energy sources. Our research team, based at Northeastern University, is trying to understand how “flexible” homes can be to balance the demands of the grid while continuing to provide comfortable spaces for occupants. This research is being conducted in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado.

What will you do?

  • Interact with your thermostat through a mobile application on your smart phone
  • Complete frequent but brief surveys on a study-provided smartwatch
  • Occasionally complete questionnaires regarding household or health changes
  • Interact in your home and adjust the temperature as you normally would if you were not participating in this study


  • Up to $450 for completing all parts of the study
  • Monthly chances to win a $50 gift card
  • Ecobee smart thermostat yours to keep
  • Smartwatch for up to two adult occupants in the home
  • Home energy assessment
  • Contribute to a flexible, resilient, sustainable future electric grid


  • 18+ years of age
  • Single-family, detached home owner
  • Have a forced-air heating and cooling system
  • Resident of Massachusetts, Colorado, or Florida (currently recruiting participants in CO)

Interested in participating?

We are currently recruiting study participants in Florida. To understand if you might be a good candidate for the study, we need to know a little more about you and your home. Please fill out our quick survey by clicking the link below.

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