The Nest Thermostat Can Help Build Your Nest Egg by Saving You Energy & Money
We've long been advocates of programmable thermostats to save you energy and money. But have you heard about the Nest Thermostat? It's called the "learning thermostat" because it actually learns from your own behavior in your home to help you spend less and use less energy. I asked my colleague, general contractor David Glenn, to explain.
Thermostats are devices that turn the heat up or down, or the air conditioning up or down, depending on the indoor temperature you want for your home. Usually, you can just turn your thermostat on and adjust the temperature to whatever feels comfortable. What makes the Nest thermostat different is that it is fully capable of programming itself. Here's how:
As you adjust the temperature in your home throughout the day, Nest takes notice. In fact, it keeps a record of the times that you prefer more heat and the times you prefer less, eventually building a schedule for you. Within a few days, you won’t have to interact with Nest in order for it to change the temperature to your personal preferences throughout the day. So it becomes a very automatic way for your home to be heated or cooled to your exact preferences without you having to continually set and re-set the thermostat yourself.
Once the schedule is set, you can still make quick, one-time alterations without disrupting the overall program. However, should you continue to make regular changes, the thermostat will adapt and create a new schedule to fit your new needs.
Nest’s Auto-Away Setting
Nest is just as useful when you're not home as when you are, maybe better, because you won’t have to worry about paying for unnecessary climate control while you’re away. The “Auto-Away” feature can do the following:
· Uses sensors and algorithms to sense if you’re away from home
· Reduces heat or AC use when it senses occupants aren’t home
· Tracks and memorizes any times you may consistently be away from home
How the Nest Thermostat Saves Money and Energy
The end result of all of this innovation isn’t just increased thermostat autonomy. Nest designed its learning thermostat so that homeowners could waste less energy when they heat and cool their homes.
The end result is that users can save as much as 20% on their monthly heating and cooling bills according to Nest. And, as they say, what’s good for the goose (your wallet) is good for the gander (the environment). Considering that 44% of the energy in the United States comes from coal-burning power plants - the single largest air polluters in the country - anything we can do to reduce energy consumption can only help keep the planet healthy.
The Nest Leaf
Nest takes it one step further by including a feature called “Nest Leaf.” This feature does the following:
· * Acts as a guide to help you save energy
· * When you decrease energy use, a small icon appears to let you know you’re saving more energy
· * Encourages you to make any changes that might save extra energy
Installing the Nest
There are videos available on YouTube that make installing the Nest yourself look easy. If you're pretty handy, go ahead and do it yourself. I'm not that comfortable when it comes to wiring, so I'd probably get the help of one of my DIY friends or neighbors who is. Otherwise, you can buy the Nest at most hardware stores, big box stores, and online.
NOTE: While the learning thermostat has certainly been making waves, Nest’s other attempt at innovative home automation recently hit a snag. The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector was pulled from the market due a design flaw that could possibly allow users to accidentally deactivate the alarm function, which in turn could lead to property damage, personal injury, or even death. Still, despite this apparent hiccup, Nest remains committed towards revolutionizing environmentally friendly home automation.
David Glenn taps his 30 years of experience owning his own home-building business to review promising new technologies that offer consumers the opportunity to save energy and money and live greener lives. Connect with him on Twitter @davidglenn97.