Definition: A programmable thermostat is a thermostat which is designed to adjust the temperature according to a series of programmed settings that take effect at different times of the day. Programmable thermostats may also be called setback thermostats or clock thermostats. NOTE: While programmable thermostats may be able to save energy when used correctly, little or no average energy savings has been demonstrated in residential field studies. Difficulty with usability in residential environments appears to lead to lack of persistence of energy savings in homes. In addition to potential increased energy consumption, digital programmable thermostats have been criticized for their poor usability.