Nest Learning Thermostat (video) | Gadget Review
Programmable Thermostats

Nest Learning Thermostat (video)

Did you know that 50% of your energy bill is derived from heating and cooling your home?  Did you also know that you can cut that number by as much as 20% if you program your thermostat?  But let’s be real, who does that?!  More often than not we just walk up to the thermostat and adjust the temperature when our feet are cold or our pits are sweaty.  As a result, many folks set it and forget it, leaving AC cranked or the heat burning when they’re no longer home or in that room.  So what’s the solution?  The Nest Learning Thermostat.

It’s a $250 device that is supposedly as easy to install as putting in a new light fixture.  If we’re to trust Nest’s stats you can make your money back in as little as 16 months, or perhaps less if you’re incredibly remiss when it comes to cooling or heating your home.  It’s able to achieve this feat by learning about your habits.  Just install the Nest, answer 3 basic questions and then use the thermostat as normal.  A simple ring rotates from left to right allowing you to easily modify the temperature as you see fit.  In a few days time the Nest will begin to build a database that reflects your desired temperatures.  But that’s not all.

The Nest includes an activity sensor, which boasts a 150 degree field of view and can detect when no one is home and set itself to Auto Away.  Built-in WiFi not only allows you to control the Nest from your smartphone or any computer from anywhere, but keeps tabs on the weather conditions and forecast, and factors this into its algorithm.  Lastly, an array of sensors (humidity, proximity, ambient light) are baked into the equation.  Once enough data has been collected the Nest will begin to automatically adjust the temperature according to your weekly schedule and habits.  However, that’s not all that the Nest Learning Thermostat has to offer.


A light sensor detects the ambient light in the room and adjusts the display’s brightness so you won’t be blinded in the middle of the night.  Furthermore, the screen will glow red for heating or blue for cooling, and will display a green leaf when you’re saving money.

You can add a number of these throughout your home and they’ll all work together to increase your energy efficiency.  We’re not sure if that happens over WiFi or the Ziggbee standard, but in any event it includes both wireless protocols, which means it should be compatible with whatever home automation gear you throw in its direction. Lastly, you can log into the Nest website, review your stats, adjust your schedule accordingly and best of all see how much cash you’ve managed to save.

You can preorder your Nest today for $250.  It should ship 11/14/2011.

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