“Green Gadgets – Some We Like, Some We Don’t”

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Nest: A Winner for Your Home/Office Energy Bill

Thermostats control half of your home’s energy. So being able to program yours can save you a lot of money in the long run – up to 20% on your heating and cooling bill. Yet most people don’t do it. Why? Because, well, it’s complicated. This is all according to the website of the new Nest thermostat. Nest is hoping to simplify it.

The Department of Energy concurs that, “By turning your thermostat back 10 degrees to 15 degrees for 8 hours, you can save 5 percent to 15 percent a year on your heating bill — a savings of as much as 1 percent for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long.”

The new Nest thermostat is designed to be user-friendly, to make it easier for you to control the heating and cooling of your home – and therefore save money and energy. After just a few days, the technology claims to learn your preferences and program itself automatically.

According to Nest’s numbers, 89% of programmable thermostats waste energy – that comes out to an average loss of about $173 a year in your energy bill. Considering these potential savings, the initial spending seems to pay off.

One feature I think is cool allows the homeowner to view their heating and cooling history for the past ten days online via new smartphone apps. This way, you can see your thermostat and home temperature sendings from wherever you happen to be.

Another feature, called Airwave, “can cut cooling costs up to 30% by shutting off the air conditioner early and using the fan to spread cool air,” explains an article on green news site treehugger.com.

 

Leadership Team of First-Class Innovators

Nest CEO Tony Faddell and Co-Founder Matt Rogers brought their experience at Apple in innovative product development, where they designed the first iPod. Fadell led iPod and iPhone development for eight years, and through 18 iPod generations, while Rogers worked in the iPod division of Apple, leading 30 engineers.

The impressive credentials of the Nest team bodes well for their success. Yoky Matsuoka, the Vice President of Technology at Nest – and the only female member of their 10-member leadership team (according to the website) – is the former Head of Innovation at Google, and was a professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington before joining Nest. Her impressive resume also contains an MS from UC Berkeley and a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Matsuoka also won the MacArthur Genius Award for her work in robotics and neuroscience.


Will it Break the Bank?

The price for the most current Nest is $249.95 at Amazon, the home improvement store Lowes, Best Buy, the Apple Store, and on the Nest online store. It is also available for purchase through local certified professionals – you can find one near you here. But that’s not the only cost.

There is the additional cost of professional installation; Nest.com quotes the installation fee as $199 for the first installation, and $25 for any additional installations in the future. Most conventional thermostats sell for under $200, so the Nest is slightly pricier.

The average U.S. home utility bill is $103.67 a month, and heating and cooling costs make up 54 percent of this. This means that the average monthly cost of heating and cooling a home is about $55.98; annually, that’s $671.96. Saving 5 percent to 15 percent per year, means that you’ll recoup the costs of your Nest thermostat and installation fee in as soon as five years.

“Conventional” thermostats nowadays are digital, electronic thermostats that are not programmable – although some old-fashioned, dial-operated thermostats do still exist. ConsumerReports.org provides an analysis of the best kind of thermostats to purchase for your home.

Thermostat Type

Cost (approximate)

Benefits

Digital

$150.00- $200.00

Affordability, including lower maintenance costs; control the temperature in a specific room

Programmable (like Nest)

$249.00

Annual savings of up to $180; user-friendly; can be set remotely


On top of all of these benefits, people in the in technology industry are applauding Nest’s efficiency. Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy (the largest utility in the U.S.) mentioned Nest as an example of consumer technologies that are reducing demand for electricity (on Platt’s Energy Week in March 2013).

So, whether or not you go for Nest depends on whether you see savings for your home, want to do your part to reduce energy consumption, and whether you like fun new gadgets.

Bio Pic CarlyBlog By Carly Buchanan, Production Assistant and Researcher

Image from www.nest.com

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