Nest Thermostat 2.0 Brings New Energy-Saving Features

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.

RP Siegel

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. His publications include business and technical articles as well as books. His third, co-authored with Roger Saillant, is Vapor Trails, an adventure novel that shows climate change from a human perspective. RP is a professional engineer - a prolific inventor with 52 patents and President of Rain Mountain LLC a an independent product development group. He is also active in his community of Rochester, NY. A regular contributor to Mechanical Engineering magazine, RP recently returned from Abu Dhabi where he traveled as the winner to the 2015 Sustainability Week blogging competition.. Follow @RPSiegel on Twitter. Contact: bobolink52@gmail.com