It’s not easy to get excited about a thermostat. But when you get an eyeful of Nest, billed as the first learning thermostat, your blood will warm. Thermostats, says the company, control about half of your homes’ energy – more than your fridge, electronics and lighting combined. The Nest will learn your preferred temperature routines – when you are home and when you’re not – it programs itself as it learns your routines.
Nest’s founders are Tony Fadell, team leader for the first 18 generations of the iPod and 4 generations of iPhone at Apple, and Matt Rogers, an Apple software veteran. The Apple attention to small design enhancements is obvious: the display turns blue when it’s cooling and orange when heating. It tells you how long reaching your optimal temperature will take. And a leaf icon pops up to show you when you’re saving energy. If you’re using the Nest in a second home, or a home that you’re spending lots of time away from, Nest lets you warm things up before you get there with a remote application.
The company says that the Nest thermostat can be installed by anyone who has an existing thermostat in their home. You can’t use it in buildings like mine where the heat is controlled by the all powerful building super. Nest’s website has a compatibility check so you can be certain your Nest will work.
Design always comes with a price tag – $249. My quick search of programmable 7-day thermostats was on average, a quarter of the price. But they didn’t learn your settings or let you change them remotely via phone app.
But for a thermostat that looks better, is more accurate and tries to save you money, the Nest is on my list. The only thing left for it to do is ask me to put on a sweater.