I love Nest. I don’t even use the revolutionary thermostat, and I love them. Whenever their stories come up, my editor throws them my way, and the latest news from Nest is that their first test results from ‘Rush Hour Rewards’ has worked, cutting air-conditioner runtime during the hottest part of the day by approximately 56%.
In April I covered the news that Nest would be introducing two new services using their Auto-Tune technology: 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.
So a few months later, it’s unsurprising to see Nest shouting from the rooftops the success of one of these two programs; Rush Hour Rewards. From their website:
On June 27th in Austin, Texas, Nest thermostats running Rush Hour Rewards cut AC runtime during the hottest part of the day by 56%, on average.
We thoroughly tested Rush Hour Rewards, of course. We knew it would work.
But knowing and seeing it in action with actual customers was very different.
Nest were contacted by Austin Energy in preparation for what they thought would be a an energy rush in response to the looming heat. After installing a “couple thousand” Nest Learning Thermostats and monitoring their use — each thermostat working to the rhythms of their individual households — the results spoke for themselves;
The results were impressive: for two hours that afternoon, as outside temperatures soared to 102°F, AC runtime was cut in half. That’s compared to how much energy we calculate people would have used that afternoon, based on their schedules and the weather.
Nest pre-cooled many of the homes before the rush hour, then let temperatures drift up less than 1.6°F on average. The result? Almost everyone stuck with it—only 10% of people adjusted the temperature at all during the rush hour.
The next day? It happened again.
Temperatures climbed even higher and there was another energy rush hour. This time it was 106°F outside and Rush Hour Rewards cut AC use by an average of 49% during the rush hour. Only 12% of Nesters adjusted the temperatures Nest set.