Tools & Guides

Frequently Asked Questions​​​


How does Cognition work?
Cognition is built on a deep understanding of the variables that impact comfort and energy use and is purpose built for light commercial, industrial and retail buildings. Cognition uses your comfort preferences, real time weather data, data about how your space has and is currently behaving, and what we call Cognition Predictive Control to create comfort in the most energy efficient way.
What hardware is needed?
Cognition works with existing HVAC equipment. Simply replace your existing thermostats with Cognition’s controls.
What does it cost?
All Cognition functionality is available for a low monthly fee per control. No upfront cost.
Can other info be added to an invoice?
At the moment, the only way to add additional information to invoices is to add the information to the workspace's name.
Why is there an ongoing monthly cost?
Cognition is your partner in collecting, analyzing, storing, securing and communicating the information you need to manage HVAC equipment efficiently, comfort effectively, and generate savings. The monthly fee covers data management and real-time data inputs that generate insights, proactive alerts and energy savings.


How do I begin the installation process?
On the back of each Cognition Controls device there is a unique QR code. Scan it to begin install and onboarding.
Can I scan the QR code once for multiple devices?
The QR code on each device is specific to that device. When installing multiple devices, you must scan each device’s QR code. This ensures that the unit is configured and connects with the Cognition dashboard.
Where is the jumper for Rh & Rc?
The Cognition Controls device has a pre-installed internal jumper that shorts Rh/Rc together. If you have one R wire you should not place a jumper from Rh to Rc on the backplate. If you have dedicated wires for Rh & Rc, you need to remove the jumper prior to installation.
How do I know that I have C-wire?

Many programmable thermostats have a terminal block dedicated to the C-wire. If you have a wire in the terminal labeled “C” you can confirm that it is powered using a voltmeter:

  • Turn the voltmeter to its AC voltage read setting
  • Place the positive (red) lead into either the R, Rh, or Rc terminal and the negative (black) lead into the C terminal
  • If the C-wire is powered you should read a voltage of ~24Vac (+/- 4.5 V).
How do I troubleshoot C-wire if it is not populated?

If there is no wire in the C terminal, there are two options to provide a powered C-wire to the device. All require the skills and experience of a professional HVAC technician or electrician.

Use an existing wire

  1. HVAC equipment must be turned off before proceeding with this option.
  2. In many HVAC systems, there are 6-8 conductor cables that run from the HVAC equipment to the thermostat. If there are unused wires in the current thermostat configuration, then one can be used as a dedicated C-wire.
  3. The selected wire will need to be connected to the C terminal at the HVAC equipment control board. Once connected at the board it can then be connected into the C terminal on the thermostat’s backplate.

Run a new wire to the desired location

  1. HVAC equipment must be turned off before proceeding with this option.
  2. If there are no extra wires in the thermostat cable bundle then a new wire can be run.
  3. This is the recommended method. You will likely need an electrician or a trained HVAC technician to perform this task for you.
How do I affix the Cognition device to the backplate?

Align the pins on the Cognition Controls device with the terminal blocks on the backplate and push the device into the backplate.

How do I know my device is turned on?

Once the device is plugged into the backplate, you will see the device screen flash from black to white a few times and the Cognition logo will appear on the screen.

What do I do if I do not see the Cognition logo?

If you do not see the screen change, follow these steps to troubleshoot your device:

  • Baseplate connection: Check that the device’s pins are lined up with the backplate terminals. You can pull the Cognition device away from the backplate, realign and re-affix. When doing so, ensure that the device is pushed all the way onto the baseplate and is flush with the wall.
  • C-wire: For the device to power, the C-wire must be powered. To check that the C-wire is powered, remove the device from the baseplate and use a voltmeter to measure the voltage between Rc and C [link to C-Wire question above]. The voltage should be between 20 and 30V AC. If the voltage measure is 0V, there is an issue with the C-wire or equipment power.
  • Confirm HVAC unit is on: If the HVAC unit was turned off for install, double-check that the HVAC unit has been turned back on. It is required to power the C-wire.
How do I know the install is complete?

It takes 2-15 minutes for the Cognition device to configure with the Cognition dashboard. The configuration and the install are complete when the device screen shows the current room temperature and the scheduled temperature range in the top left corner.

I’m still having issues, who can I contact?

If you run into issues during the installation process, send an email to


How do I manage the comfort at the Cognition device?

The Cognition Control on the wall will execute simple, temporary comfort adjustments.

Approach the device:

  • Press the up button to increase the temperature
  • Press the down button to decrease the temperature

As you press the button up/down, the temperature on the screen will adjust. Stop pressing when your desired temperature is on the screen.

After a brief pause, a message confirming your selection, such as “Now warming to 76”, will show on the screen.

This message will remain on the screen until your selected temperature is achieved.

To cancel your selection simply press the middle button on the device.

Note: The Comfort Preferences set in the Cognition Dashboard are the primary way that the space is managed. The requests at the device are temporary. Once the at device request has been achieved the Dashboard Comfort Preferences will once again be the way in which the space is managed.

How do I affix the Cognition device to the backplate?

Align the pins on the Cognition Controls device with the terminal blocks on the backplate and push the device into the backplate.

What are Comfort Preferences?

Comfort is an experience. A Comfort Preference is the set of sequential temperatures at which your space will be comfortable, for example, 70-75.

Why does Cognition require me to use a Comfort Preference range?

Comfort is not a specific number, it is an experience. Based on research and feedback, we’ve learned that we can be comfortable within a range of temperatures. The benefit of managing your space with a range is that it increases opportunities to balance comfort with energy savings.

How do I adjust my Comfort Preferences?

Select the zone that you would like to adjust, then select <<Edit Zone Settings>>

To maximize comfort in your space you can create multiple comfort ranges. For example, you could have different settings for morning, lunchtime, afternoon, evening and overnight, and these can differ day by day.

Select the time range, then set the range you’d like to keep the temperature within.

  • The lower number in the range is the temperature below which the heat will kick on to warm your space.
  • The higher number in the range is the temperature above which the AC will kick on to cool your space.

Once you’ve created a range select <<Save Changes>>

When should I adjust my Comfort Preference ranges?

The range you need will depend on the context.

Cold weather tips:

  • When it is cold outside you should focus on the lower end of your range, which is the temperature at which the heat will kick on.
  • Your experience of comfort is relative to the temperature outside and how you have dressed for the weather. Typically, the range you need to be comfortable in cold weather is lower because people are wearing layers.
  • We find most spaces are comfortable with a 69-74 (cc-cc) comfort range.

Hot weather tips:

  • When it is hot outside you should focus on the upper end of your range, which is the temperature at which the AC will kick on.
  • Your experience of comfort is relative to the temperature outside and how you have dressed for the weather. Typically, the range you need to be comfortable in hot weather is higher because people are wearing less clothing and the experience of AC on the skin can be “chilling”.
  • We find most spaces are comfortable with a 72-75 (cc-cc) range.
  • Temperature variability tips:
  • If you experience outside temperature fluctuations that impact your space, such as cold mornings and hot afternoons, or afternoons with significant sun exposure, you should make use of the ability to create multiple Comfort Preference ranges.
What is an Exception?

Exceptions are a way to temporarily adjust your Comfort Calendar Preferences quickly and easily. The exception is set for a specific time and day(s) and will only apply for that period. After that period has passed, Cognition will automatically return to the settings in your Comfort Calendar.

How do I make an Exception to my Comfort Calendar?

You can set an exception at the Building or the Zone level. Select your Building or Zone, then select <<Exceptions>>:

  • Name the exception
  • Select the start date and the end date
  • Select the comfort range to use during the exception
  • Hit <Add>>
How do I cancel an Exception?

Exceptions are easy to change or delete. Select <<Exceptions>>. Active exceptions, meaning pending exceptions that are scheduled to occur at a future time, will be listed by building and by zone. Simple hit << Delete icon>> to remove the exception.


How can I monitor my space?

The Cognition Controls dashboard is built for quick, easy insights about your space:

  • At the Building view, any issues will be highlighted in pink. If there’s nothing highlighted, everything is operating as expected.
  • At the Zone view, you can quickly check on how each zone is operating, with a current temperature and comfort preference overview. If you want more information, simply click into the space.
  • By Zone, you can quickly review performance with the Data Explorer, which showcases relevant and contextual information of space comfort and equipment usage. You can use the accordion at the bottom of the page to refine the time horizon you want to view, and you can add or remove the variables you’d like to see.
What does Cognition Controls monitor?
  • Cognition Controls actively reviews your HVAC equipment data to provide you with useful insights, alerts and reminders. For example:
  • We monitor and track your equipment runtime to provide useful preventative equipment maintenance reminders, such as air filter changes, which help extend the life of your recruitment.
  • We monitor runtime and compare it against past performance to identify equipment degradation, which is when your equipment is no longer operating as it should. When we identify degradation we send you Equipment Issue Intelligence alerts, which help avoid emergencies and service downtime.
  • We track your equipment use and convert this into energy insights, including converting runtime to estimated kWh used, so you can better track how your HVAC equipment use impacts your utility bill. For context, we also compare your HVAC use to a 72 degree hold so you can better identify how using Cognition comfort controls reduces energy use and equipment wear and tear.
When does Cognition Controls send me reminders and alerts?

Cognition Controls is your partner in managing comfort in your space, while reducing equipment wear and tear and HVAC energy use. The goal of all our communication with you is to ensure we are providing you with the information you need to make data driven decisions about your space. We are always clear about the type of information we are sending you by highlighting in the email subject line <ALERT>, <Reminder>, <Info>.

  • We send an <ALERT> when our data and insights indicate there is an issue in your space that requires your attention. The intent is to alert you about the issue as early as possible to avoid equipment downtown and tenant discomfort.
  • We send a <Reminder> when our data and insights indicate that there is an action related to comfort or equipment that you may need to take. The intent is to provide you with this info so you can make plans that help avoid you equipment wear and tear, schedule preventative maintenance or adjust your Comfort Calendar based on user feedback.
  • We send <Info> to help you understand the data and insights available through the Cognition Controls dashboard.
What is Equipment Issue Intelligence?

Cognition Controls actively reviews how your HVAC equipment operates and compares current performance against past performance. Our goal is to proactively alert you to issues so you can avoid service disruptions and unnecessary emergency costs.


My building lost power, what do I do?

Your Cognition Control will lose power when your HVAC equipment loses power. When this happens, the Cognition device automatically goes into a safe power down mode, saving your comfort preferences to memory.

As soon as the power returns to your equipment, your Cognition Control will be powered and return to managing your comfort.

My device says “No Connectivity”, what should I do?

Even if your device has lost connectivity it will continue to manage the comfort in your space because it remembers the latest version of the comfort Preferences in your dashboard.

Please note that it is normal for your device to temporarily lose connectivity from time to time.

Cognition will notify you if the connectivity issue is prolonged.

I have a technical question, who can I ask?

If you have a question we haven’t answered in the FAQs, please email us at If it’s urgent, we can give you a call.

I have an equipment issue but I need an HVAC Pro suggestion, can you help?

At Cognition Controls we are proud of our network of preferred HVAC Pros. If you need a recommendation we’d be happy to put you in touch with one of these comfort heroes.

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