Michael Ratliff, Associate Editor
Palo Alto, Calif.—Coming home to a sweltering apartment is one aspect of summer that no renter looks forward too. But I for one would rather endure an extra half hour of heat than an astronomical utility bill. While my unit does have a built-in air conditioner/heating unit, it doesn’t have a thermostat. Cooling or heating the apartment requires a fine balance of turning on and off the unit to ensure that I am keeping things efficient. If only there was an intuitive thermostat that could learn my daily schedule and temperature preferences and greet me with a cool, but not cold apartment after riding my bicycle home from work each day.
Such a product does exist. It is called the Nest Learning Thermostat and is built by Nest Labs. This is not your father’s programmable thermostat. Nest uses a combination of sensors, algorithms, machine learning and cloud computing to program itself to best serve the user. The unit will learn a user’s schedule within a week and begin to automatically turn down heating or cooling when the resident is away. This saves energy and gets better with time as Nest is always refining its schedule.
And that isn’t all. Nest also tracks the temperatures you set and advises on more energy-efficient ones. Sensors detect when you are not a home and automatically lessens the temperature control. Nest can also connect to the user’s Wi-Fi so they can control it from a laptop, smartphone or tablet. No more worrying about how high you electric bill will be after you forgot to turn off the A/C before a long weekend away.
The simple user interface and sleek brushed stainless steel design doesn’t hurt either. Nest has won a host of awards for its innovation and eco-design since being released in October 2011. It is now available at more than 500 Lowe’s stores and power companies like Houston’s Reliant are offering sustainable oriented plans that include the Nest Learning Thermostat.
The Nest Learning Thermostat retails for $249.00 and should be up for consideration in your next project. Young, tech savy and environmentally conscious renters will all certainly be impressed.