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Nest Thermostat 2.0 Brings New Energy-Saving Features

RP Siegel | Friday April 6th, 2012 | 7 Comments

Last fall, I wrote a review of the Nest Learning Thermostat that attracted a lot of attention. It turns out they just came out with Nest 2.0, so I thought I would take a look.

The new software update Nest 2.0 includes:

  • Enhanced Energy History, a more in-depth look at your usage
  • Airwave, a specific energy-saving application for the cooling season
  • Additional remote features via web, iPhone and Android
  • Updated internal menus

The software update will be downloaded automatically over the next couple of days through the user’s Wi-Fi connection. Users should also be sure to update the applications on their mobile devices as well.

Nest Labs was formed by industrial designers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, both formerly of Apple. They decided that applying some Silicon Valley magic to the lowly thermostat would attract tech-oriented homeowners concerned about saving energy and money and reducing their burden on the planet.

The Nest could be considered a 3G programmable thermostat that interacts with you like a regular thermostat, then programs itself based on your behavior. It does this by paying attention to the settings you choose and when you choose them, as well as other indicators of household activity, then once it gets your pattern, it repeats it for you, automatically. Using this process, Nest clams they can save homeowners up to 20% on their heating and cooling bills.

Perhaps most useful is the remote access feature that connects to Wi-Fi and allows you to program the thermostat with your iPhone or Android device. This means that you can check your thermostat or reset your temperature wherever you are, whether that’s in bed or a thousand miles away. These capabilities were upgraded in Nest 2.0.

The Nest has an Auto-Away feature which utilizes occupancy sensors to determine if anyone is at home. If there is no one around, it will move into an energy saver mode after a period of time. The Nest senses the amount of activity in the home in its first few days and continually updates its readings.

The Nest also tracks your settings, and then encourages you to use more energy efficient ones, providing feedback in the form of a green leaf when you have saved and showing you your percent savings in your Energy History.

Regarding the update, Nest had the following to say about their new Enhanced Energy History.

To maximize your savings, you have to understand how much energy you’re actually using and why. When we first launched Nest, we knew we wanted to do something special with Energy History, but doing it right took time. The enhanced Energy History we’ve launched today is for those of you who’ve requested more detail about your energy use and easier access to energy info. No longer locked inside your Nest, this deeper energy data is now available on the Web app, iPad and both Android and iPhone smartphones.

With this new application you can click on any given day and see the energy usage details for that day. This information should be very helpful for those that choose to take advantage of it.

What Airwave does is basically squeeze extra cooling out of your air conditioning system, by turning the compressor off a little before its done and then “coasting” using the fan only to extract all the remaining cold air from the coils.

Mobile app upgrades include better information retrieval, the ability to change “Away” temperature, activate a Range Schedule and pause Auto-Schedule and Auto-Away. They also increased the number of devices that Nest is compatible with.

The Range Schedule feature is for homes with both heating and cooling. It can be used to set a range, below which heating comes on and above which cooling comes on. Internal upgrades also include the ability to adjust the Away temperature in the Settings menu.

For more information, check out the Nest website.

RP Siegel, PE, is the President of Rain Mountain LLC. He is also the co-author of the eco-thriller Vapor Trails, the first in a series covering the human side of various sustainability issues including energy, food, and water. Now available on Kindle.

Follow RP Siegel on Twitter.


▼▼▼      7 Comments     ▼▼▼

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  • TedKidd

    They claim to track energy use, when what is actually tracked is run time.

    This defines the disconnect the public has when it comes to energy efficiency. Most think gaming equipment into shorter periods of operation saves energy, when actually getting equipment to run and deliver at optimal efficiency is a really big, little understood missed opportunity.

    Further proof these guys either know little or are pandering to public ignorance is the idea that running the fan after AC suits off will save energy. What is actually happening is you dry the coil. This is a bad thing, it means you are moving that latent heat and humidity back into the house. Next time the unit starts it will take longer to get to efficient operating state because the coil needs to get wet.

    Here’s an analogy: imagine you are driving 100 miles. Whats the most efficient way to do that, short periods of full throttle then shutting down, or gently and continuously on the highway?

    Furthermore, would the miles driven be an indication of energy consumed, or would the gallons to fill your tank be a better indicator?

    • El Niño

      Read more about the product itself and not just the article.

    • Lucjacob

      do you work for Honeywell, because you look very aggressive in your comments.  since the system has only one speed, run time is roughly equivalent to energy consumption.

    • Scott Schweitzer

      Let me start off by saying that I just ordered the Nest Gen2. That being said, very well put, TedKidd. Seriously people, think about what he said.

      So, what if we took what TedKidd stated into account? Had the Nest monitor fuel usage and modulate the heating or cooling according to the most efficient way the furnace, boiler, electric radiators, air conditioner, heat pump etc. can operate? Bam. THEN we would have a ‘smart’ home.

    • How Bowers

      Your analogy is factually incorrect. The “full throttle and shut down” technique is actually more energy efficient: http://www.metrompg.com/posts/pulse-and-glide.htm

  • http://www.facebook.com/olivia.hanson.336 Olivia Hanson

    I have purchased this Nest Thermostat from stylishfirst com because they had a good review of it, very easy to install and I was impressed by the futuristic design. 

    We have set the thermostat to “away” so it won’t use energy when we are not there. This has saved us a few bucks when we forget to turn it off before leaving. It also compares your previous 10 day temperatures. Then it tells if the temp in the house changed because of the outside temperature or because I adjusted it. If we used more energy because I adjusted it then I remind myself to leave it alone and let the device control everything. The automatic scheduler and motion sensor are nice conveniences. The motion sensor also turns off the air when does not sense movement after a preset amount of time.Overall, it is very convenient and easy to use.

    Any energy saving advices that would be good to know when using this device ?

  • TedKidd

    Harry didn’t graduate junior high, but stayed at a holiday inn express last night.

    So Everyone simply believe what he says although no explanation or support argument is provided. Lol.