Saving energy is something every homeowner wants. Any product that can offer the chance to save money on energy bills is very desirable. The Nest Learning Thermostat is a great example of this. It is a market leader in smart thermostats and this blog post is going to look at the reasons behind its success. I have to admit now, I am slightly bias as I am lucky enough to have one of these installed in my flat. Not exactly what you would expect to find in a student flat but I’m not complaining.
So first let’s answer the question that I’ve had many people ask me when visiting my flat. ‘What is that round thing on the wall?” To be fair I would also be intrigued by the futuristic looking ring that lights up as you approach it. According to Wikipedia, yes I actually had to look this up even though I own one, the nest is an “electronic, programmable, and self-learning Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat that optimises heating and cooling of homes and businesses to conserve energy”. To be fair that is exactly what it does. I feel like the best way to analyse this product is to look at its features.
I guess the main feature of the Nest, as suggested in the name, is it’s ability to learn how you live and adjust the temperature accordingly. It can build you a heating schedule after just one week of monitoring your lifestyle. This may seem a little creepy but it can tell when you’re out and will switch to eco mode. I don’t know about you, but when I first moved in I was a bit weirded out by the fact that my thermostat knew when I was out the flat based on sensors and my phone’s location. However I have to admit I was converted when I started to see benefits of this in the form of my energy bill. It also has a good balance because although it builds you a schedule, you can adjust it manually either on the thermostat itself or on the app. This helps to steer away from the idea of a robot taking control of your heating which would attract some controversy.
The user interface is one of the main reasons I love this product. You can change the temperature easily by turning the ring. It’s hard to describe but it makes such a satisfying clicking noise. So satisfying that many of my friends like to play with it and set it to ridiculous temperatures which I don’t realise until I am roasting in my flat. The simple turning mechanism is such great design, it has just the right amount of resistance to not spin around too much but it turns so smoothly. Another cool feature of the user interface is it’s ability to sense when you are approaching/passing it. It’s like it reads your mind, you don’t even have to be that close, I just walk past, look at it and it lights up, showing me what the current temperature is. This is such a clever little feature, however, like many of the features, it’s really not necessary and a bit excessive but I guess that’s what makes the Nest stand out against it’s competitors.
Another great feature of the Nest is ability to control it from an app. This may sound ridiculously lazy, like why would I use my phone to adjust the temperature when I could just get up and walk into the hall to adjust it manually, but what’s actually really useful is I can change the temperature of my flat from ANYWHERE. I have been guilty of using the app in lectures on a cold winters day when I want to return to a warm flat. It really is a luxury product, it isn’t necessary to be able to do that but I have to say it is a welcome feature.
Of course one of my favourite parts of the Nest is the leaf feature. You get rewarded a leaf every time your thermostat is set to ‘Eco Temperature’. This can happen automatically when you leave the house or you can set it yourself . ‘Eco Temperature’ is a low temperature which you can choose yourself, I think mine is at 17 degrees celcius. This helps you to save energy when it is a little warmer, It’s especially useful during those rare but appreciated heat waves we get in Scotland. Each month you get emailed a Home Report which tells you exactly how much energy you have used that month and on what days and what times. This is useful to keep track of how much energy you are using and makes you more aware when you may have been a bit generous to yourself with your heating.
Nest say that an independent study showed that the thermostat saved people an average of 10% to 12% on heating bills. They also claim that in under 2 years the thermostat can pay for itself. I have to say I am not surprised by this, I have noticed a dramatic decrease in my energy bills since using the Nest. My flat has single glazing so it can be tricky to efficiently use energy, however the Nest does help a lot to prevent excessive use of the heating.
Overall I think the Nest is a very clever product. It’s aesthetic is so simple and unassuming but it’s technological capabilities are extensive. Although some of the features are a little over the top, they do make the nest a unique and special product to have integrated into your home. I believe it is a very forward looking design and benefits the user not only by saving them money, but making their daily life that little bit easier and adding an aspect of luxury to their lifestyle.