Covering clean technology has always stemmed from my deep desire to see our world change. I started out covering the science of climate change and global warming, and then stepped across to cover clean technology. I feel it is an important topic that needs unbiased unsensationalised coverage, focusing on the facts and the reality of what clean technology can do.
However, there are a few clean technologies that I just love!
One of them, is Nest!
We’ve been covering Nest since it first launched it’s smart learning thermostat last year, and we are collectively in love. However, as Nest’s founder and CEO Tony Fadell says, “you can give people tools to help them save … but you can’t lower someone’s heating or cooling bill against their will.”
Nest was built to take input from the user, and therefore if you wanted to set your heating at inefficient temperatures or use energy when it is at it’s most expensive, Nest would do just that.
That’s all going to change — or at least, we’re going to have the opportunity to let it change — thanks to Nest’s latest innovation: Auto-Tune.
According to Fadell, “Nest can spot perfect, personalized opportunities to save you money and energy and automatically take advantage of them for you. Even better? It makes sure you stay comfortable and in control the whole time.”
Auto-Tune takes everything your Nest has learned about your home — your schedule and patterns, your energy plan, the way you use your thermostat, temperatures you like, when you are home and when you are not — and automatically begins to make changes that will save you money and energy. Nest is also taking into account what the weather is like in your neighbourhood, and how efficient your furnace is and how leaky your windows are!
Using the Auto-Tune technology, Nest — in conjunction with their energy partners — is introducing two new services; Rush Hour Rewards and Seasonal Savings.
Rush Hour Rewards takes advantage of the numerous energy company incentives that exist that pay you to use less energy when everyone else is needing more of it, and could end up earning you $20 to $60 this summer.
Seasonal Savings, however, helps you save money by taking everything your Nest thermostat has learned about your house and fine-tuning the schedule to save energy, “without sacrificing comfort.” The field trials that Nest have already run have seen users using 5-10% less heating and cooling, with 80% of those involved in the trial saying they’d keep their new schedules in place.
These services are new—radically new—and dramatically different than any previous efforts by energy providers and thermostat makers to get their customers to save energy. But they’re not new to us—we’ve been working on them for years. Even before we launched the Nest Learning Thermostat, we were designing our data services with these features in mind.
Nest are unsurprisingly proud of this new technology, and proud of the consumer-oriented focus of it. Only time will tell if innovations such as this will have a wholesale beneficial impact on consumer energy usage.
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