If youre interested in reducing home energy costs, routine tips tend to focus on installing energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances. You can also find plenty of information on keeping the thermostat at a constant temperature, and instructions to turn it up in the summer and down in the winter. Such commands, however, are somewhat arbitrary, and not everyone can afford a new suite of energy-efficient appliances.
Enter Nest, a device that (1) takes the burden of finding the perfect home temperature off your shoulders; and (2) gives you greater control of energy use even when youre away from home.
Getting to Know Nest
How can this be? In a word, the answer is technology. Nest is a digital thermostat you can install yourself in under 30 minutes, and could save you up to 20% a year on heating and cooling. It replaces your existing thermostat and works with the heating and cooling system you already have. No more fussing with complicated buttons the Nest works like a dial; turn it to the left for a lower temperature, to the right for a higher one.
The Nest learns your habits say you set the thermostat at 75 degrees during the day and 72 degrees at night and adjusts itself so you dont have to. This learning period takes about a week, after which the Nest automatically maintains the temperatures you prefer. It is, in many ways, similar to programmable thermostats, but without the hassle or confusion.
Interestingly, the Nests digital screen display comes to life each time a person walks by it. If nothing else, this proves it responds to you. It watches your familys habits so as to be able to function as much more than a traditional thermostat.
Save Some Green
Once installed, the Nest becomes a learning tool and a savings guide. A green leaf appears on the display when your homes temperature is energy-efficient. Sometimes you need only adjust it by one degree to get into a more efficient zone. Paying attention to the leaf can save up to 10 percent on your average energy bill.
Nest learns not only from you, but also from your home. It monitors heating and cooling times to fully understand how your home energy system works. It even senses air quality and air movement. Efficiency readings provided by the Nest are not arbitrarily selected by a utility company. They are real numbers based on your homes needs, meaning youll see actual savings.
Perhaps the feature that saves the most money is Auto-Away, which prompts the Nest to set a more energy-efficient temperature when youre not home. This feature comes on automatically once the Nest senses a period of inactivity in the house.
Even More Features
If youre reading and admiring all this functionality, theres even more good news. For greater versatility with Nest, a downloadable smartphone app allows you to control it when youre at work, at play or simply running errands. Thats right you can adjust the temperature of your home from a remote location and respond more quickly to changes in weather.
The downloadable app also lets you see when and why Nest adjusted your homes temperature on a given day. Perhaps the outside temperature was a factor, or your familys presence in the home made a difference. Understanding this information can help you see where greater savings are available.
Nest is an impressive tool that works with you and your home. The editors at CNET.com give it five stars for its efficiency, and tout its ability to save homeowners money.
Find more information at nest.com.