Today, the Nest Learning Thermostat received an ENERGY STAR® from the EPA. In fact, it is the first thermostat in America with an ENERGY STAR. After rigorous testing, the EPA has confirmed what we’ve been saying all along: the Nest Thermostat saves energy.
I’ve been a fan of Nest well before they even shipped the Nest Learning Thermostat back in 2011. When it was announced that one of the “fathers of the iPod”, Tony Fadell, was starting a company that designed and manufactured a sensor-driven, Wi-Fi-enabled, learning programmable thermostat, that was really all I needed to hear. My immediate thoughts were of all the Jetson’s-Esque futuristic ideas I’ve been dreaming of for years in a fully connected home. But for now, I had to settle with a $250 thermostat and some dodgy AirPlay connections that were about as reliable as expecting to catch a flight in a snow storm.
That was in 2011.
The apartment that I installed the Nest Learning Thermostat in was about 950 sqft and located in Scottsdale, AZ. I had recently moved from Canada so I wasn’t particularly familiar with a full season of Arizona summer. For those that don’t know: Arizona summer is
fucking crazy hot. The Nest was the first thing I connected, after my WiFi, in the new place (#priorities). Setup took all of 15 minutes (though I did have a tricky bit of wiring help I needed to call support about) with no tools outside of what was included in the extremely Apple-like packaging. I downloaded the iOS app, set my temperature thresholds to what I deemed acceptable and away it went. It turned blue! I now had a WiFi-connected thermostat and I could successfully announce to my friends that I had accomplished an in-home rewiring task worthy of at least a few masculine points (don’t tell them I had to call for help).
For the next few weeks, I was obsessed with earning an energy bonus Leaf each day. I was working at Apple at the time and anyone who had a Nest in their home would proudly display their energy efficiency prowess each month when the reports came through their inbox. But, I really had no measure of whether I was saving energy or not. Since I was in a new apartment with a new energy company, I didn’t have a benchmark. My bills came and went, but I didn’t know if they were being lowered by my fancy expensive thermostat.
Then I got a letter sent out by my apartment complex that broke down averages across the units from the energy company, in this case, it was APS. The letter clearly displayed typical usage and billing averages for the 1/2/3 bedroom configurations that my complex offered. This breakdown was showing that the average for my particular configuration was $230/mo in electricity. The absolute most I had ever paid, even in the scorching heat when the thermostat was running 19hrs a day, was $160/mo. In the winter months, I was down to as low as $60/mo. Either my neighbors were running their aircon into frigid temperatures or this thermostat was doing its job.
A few years later when I moved into a 2200 sqft house, my bills still aren’t as high as the $230 average my old complex was quoting. Now, I’m not saying that the Nest Thermostat is saving me $70 every month, but I do know that it’s running my systems more efficiently. With all of the software features added over the years to better assist for the position of the sun, more widespan viewing from the hardware, and location-based tracking via the iOS app, I really love this thing.
I know for a fact that I’m saving money with the Nest Thermostat, though how much I’m not exactly sure. But it is fantastic that the EPA is recognizing Nest as a valuable addition to any home. Now, if only Nest was HomeKit compatible.