New High Tech Thermostat Promises Energy Cost Savings




By: Toney Robinette, Staff Member

Heating and cooling are very expensive energy expenditures for families.  The thermostat in your home controls around 50% of your energy cost.[1]  For colder climates, your heating and cooling costs can be as much as two-thirds of your energy bill.[2]  The United States is currently the second largest energy using country in the world,[3] and a large part of our energy expenditure comes from heating and cooling.  In addition to a high cost, energy expenditure also has a large environmental impact, and our houses are large contributors.  Home cooling with natural gas causes around 6,400 pounds of CO² emissions, while heating causes 4,200 pounds of CO² emissions,[4] and CO² is a major cause of global warming.[5] 

While methods of regulating home heat have been around for a while, they are often too expensive, like new insulation, or are simply unappealing.  However, new technology may be offering us a chance to comfortably and cheaply decrease our home energy spending by up to 25%.  The Nest Thermostat just entered its second iteration, and with it comes the promise of an affordable way to regulate your home energy usage without making a large cash outlay or suffering through the elements.  Nest essentially learns your habits through an algorithm that requires initial manual adjustments. Eventually, the thermostat begins to regulate itself automatically to adjust for when you leave, come home, go to sleep, and wake up.  Through a simple learning algorithm the thermostat can decrease your heating and cooling usage by 26%.[6]  While this may sound like the technophilia of Silicon Valley, the Nest may soon become a national phenomenon.  Apple agreed to allow the thermostat to be sold at their stores this month.  They should be starting to sell them immediately.[7]



[1] Heat & Cool Efficiently,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,  http://www.energystar.gov/ index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_hvac.
[2] The Energy Costs of Cooling and Heating a Home, NPR (Aug. 27, 2007), http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=13941744.
[3] Personal Energy Meter, National Geographic, http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/energy/great-energy-challenge/global-personal-energy-meter/.
[4] The Energy Costs of Cooling and Heating a Homesupra note 2.
[5] The Energy Costs of Cooling and Heating a Home, supra note 2.
[6] Saving Energy, Nest, http://www.nest.com/saving-energy/.
[7] Sarah Kessler, The Nest Thermostat Is Now for Sale at Apple Stores, Mashable (May 30, 2012), http://mashable.com/2012/05/30/nest-apple/.