Learning Thermostat - a huge impact on Energy Savings

Ok, I have had a couple programmable thermostats in the past... But, once again about 11 months ago I was doing my weekly (sometimes daily) stroll through the neighborhood 'big-box' home improvement store and back in the back past the garden section there is this little end-of-aisle display with a video playing and there is this neatly packaged 'Nest'.

And, I am intrigued enough to drop $250 USD on a thermostat. Again, another purchase on the fly with no pre-planning or research. And well, I was and continue to be VERY pleased with my Nest Learning Thermostat.

With my many Home Energy Conservation projects in our our home this past 18 months. I cannot quantify objectively how much impact the thermostat has made to our significantly reduced energy bills. But subjectively, I can honestly say it has been huge~!

Most importantly, and unlike my previous 'programmable' thermostats, I use this thermostat - more than passing down the hall and turning up or down the A/C-Heat. I am not standing in the hall with a head lamp and magnifying eye-glasses trying to thump-stumble with dip switches and obscure menus to 'program' my Nest.

I can program my nest from my Mac (PC), my smart phone and/or iPad. Mostly, I use my smartphone. It is an integrated part of our weekly life. I challenge myself to attain daily 'green-leafs'. The daily history is very nice to see.

The thermostat uses its motion sensor to set its state to  'Auto-away'. You can also easily, while heading out the door, set the thermostat to 'Away'.  With the wifi capability and from your iPhone/iPad you can change the 'Away' to 'Home' and set the thermostat temperature on your way back home to arrive at a  pleasantly adjusted home. Leave home for the weekend and forget to adjust the thermostat? No, problem. Auto-away will take care of it or you can turn off your A/C in Texas while setting in NYC.

It is simple and intuitive to use~! Very well worth the $250 USD I invested. I know that in the Texas summer my A/C electric bills saved me the $250~! Honestly, I can say this is the best $250 I have spent this year.

And, it wins my aesthetically cool meter - Form, Function and Fit~!

Background:

I am in the middle (hopefully, 90% complete) with various Home Energy Conservation projects in our 2,000 sq. ft. North Texas (Plano) home - R30 Attic Insulation, Radiant Barrier attic foil, attic Breeze solar attic fans, new windows, LED Lighting Replacement, etc... And, to share my trials and tribulations.

Project Cost:

$250 

Project Completion:

May 2012

Project Duration:

25 minutes

Views: 1017

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Comment by Marie McMahon Meehan on April 4, 2013 at 8:51am

I am surprised by the heated anit-Nest responses.  While the "Home Energy Pro" reader has their programmable thermostat optimally tuned for maximum energy savings, recent EnergyStar research shows that the majority of typical homeowners do not program their programmable thermostat at all and have a constant 24hr setpoint.  (google "programmable thermostat research" to read the study findings)

Based on this research, NEST seems like a terrific way to make thermostats user friendly and accessible so they will used to save energy for the TYPICAL homeowner.  Yes, it is probably not necessary for the "Home Energy Pro" reader, however unfortunately the vast majority of people are not so energy saavy.

I'm sure some of the bugs that previous posters have mentioned will be worked out soon.

Comment by Tom Delconte on April 3, 2013 at 7:27am

The only good nest thermostat is a dead, torn-down nest thermostat: Nest Teardown . Jus' kiddin'!

Comment by Tom Delconte on April 2, 2013 at 1:42pm

Dale and Ted: this is a picture of a recent tear-out and replacement of a Nest thermostat, after the Zigbee functionand ARM processor had taken over their property: 

Good Luck!

Comment by tedkidd on April 2, 2013 at 11:04am

Or thermosnobitus?  Shall we spin this off with funny, creative made up words?  

Maybe South Park will come up with a fart huffing version of South Part Smug for people who buy thermostats, thinking they are saving the world and lording it over their neighbors!   

Seriously, I don't think there are prescriptive thermostat tricks for saving meaningful amounts of energy.  But I do think tracking "mileage" to "driving habits" does help us understand what is going on with homes, and having a better understanding in advance of replacement decisions can make those changes better informed.  

For example, if you look at the "South Plymouth" thermostats, those furnaces are quite apparently GROSSLY oversized.  Even on the coldest day of the year when they fire the indoor temperature looks like a space shuttle launch.  

Comment by Dale Stephens on April 2, 2013 at 10:56am

I purchased my thermostat to use and did not know about the 'Nest' until I stumbled upon it in Lowe's. It has been very effective and useful in our home. The energy reporting lets me see how my other Home Energy Improvements are impacting my A/C-Heating usage. I can visually see that my A/C NEVER continues to run. My home is not losing heat like before. Did the 'Nest' do this - NO! But is has turned out to be an integral part of my home energy improvement efforts. Are there similar or better solutions out there - maybe.  Thanks for the continued feedback~!

Comment by Tom Delconte on April 2, 2013 at 7:18am

Ted: spending a year's worth of electricity on thermostats gives you status to yourself, and to the home energy community! cool. and, they just work! maybe it should be called thermostatitis?

Comment by tedkidd on April 1, 2013 at 11:48am

LOL.  U GUYS R FUNNY!  

OK, so now that we've slammed these thermostats I'm going to embarrass myself.  I own 4 Ecobee's.  

I think there IS opportunity in these things.  The opportunity is in UNDERSTANDING.  Learning how the house, equipment, and outdoors interact.  

Here are some screenshots - love to hear your thoughts!  

http://bit.ly/4ecobeethermostats

(Comedic comments welcomed!)

Comment by Tom Delconte on April 1, 2013 at 11:35am

Dale, I can see your reasons are genuine, but I believe that most acquire a nest for the status, to look "environmental." Same goes for the chevy volt, or a home windmill. I's fully established that consumption patterns in the U.S. are simply a pursuit of social status, and little else!

Comment by Tom Delconte on March 29, 2013 at 5:32am

Hello Dale,

This is what the smartphone used to interact with the thermostat is doing to people in China: China smartphone rare earth pollution . GPS, electric cars, also. it's ok to offload production to another country, but do it with environmental responsibility. Why should people in another part of the world suffer health problems to satisfy the U.S. need for smartphones which are used to control thermostats? Pardon me if I'm wrong, but we used to be nice people, with a conscience. 

Great write-up, tho!

Comment by tedkidd on March 28, 2013 at 9:14am

Let me guess, in your day job you work for Fuccillo Hyundai? 

All their advertisements promise savings are "Hu-ge!" too. 

Conspicuously absent are any before or after consumption numbers, and further obfuscating unquantified claims is the fact other, potentially substantial improvements have occurred during the same period.  

It's great you are happy with your toy, but do you really need to justify the purchase of a toy by claiming it cost justifies based upon unmeasured and possibly fictitious energy savings?  

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