Oh, yeah. You’re gonna want one of these.
Meet the Nest: a “learning thermostat” that programs itself. Developed by Tony Fadell, a former Apple VP and the whiz who created the sleek hardware for the iPod, the Nest is turning the world of stogy-looking thermostats on its head.
The Nest learns and reprograms itself by following your use habits, and can take as much as 20% off your energy bill. You can access Nest online or from your smart phone. It costs $249. And let’s face it: it looks really cool.
Why re-imagine home temperature control?
Heating and cooling can be as much as 50% of your home (or small office building) energy bill. Programmable thermostats are great for getting a handle on reducing heating and cooling costs, but according to Nest, up to 90% of programmable thermostats are never programmed. Yeouch.
If you do program your thermostat you know you have to give it a schedule: 6:00 a.m. warmer, 8:00 a.m. cooler, 6:00 p.m. warmer, 10:00 p.m. cooler—and a whole different timetable on the weekend. Labor Day Monday? Oops, have to readjust the thermostat. Out for the evening? Still paying to warm the house.
Fadell decided a thermostat could be smarter, could learn from your daily habits and adjust to you, instead of you adjusting to it. And he knew he could make something that looked a lot more appealing than a beige box. Install it, and over the course of about a month, the Nest goes to work sensing activity, temperature, humidity and light, adapting to your family’s use patterns, and lowering energy usage. It even shows you how much energy is being saved. Maybe lots of energy, especially if lots of homes and small businesses start using this technology. Fadell and his cohorts believe this is planet-saving-level technology.
Yes, but does it work?
Well, precisely. This is what we want to know, too. We’ve got one on order and when Energy Smart’s staff has finished putting it through its paces, we’ll update you with our results.