Saturday, August 24

Smart, self-programming thermostats

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A programmable thermostat is one of the easiest energy savers you can buy. Unfortunately, most people don’t program their thermostats to automatically adjust the temperature when their homes are empty or full.

The problem may have been solved by one of the coolest, albeit relatively expensive, new home energy gadgets. Nest Labs has created the Nest Learning Thermostat™. This thermostat is “smart” and learns from your behaviors, preferences and surroundings to create a custom heating and cooling schedule, keeping you comfortable when you’re home and conserving energy when you’re away.

“It was unacceptable to me that the device controlling 10 percent of all energy consumed in the U.S. hadn’t kept up with advancements in technology and design,” said Tony Fadell, co-founder and CEO of Nest Labs. “Together with the team, co-founder Matt Rogers and I set out to reinvent the thermostat using advanced technologies, high-quality manufacturing processes and the thoughtful design elements the iPhone generation expects. We hope it will not only save money and energy but that it will teach and inspire people to think more about how they can reduce home-energy consumption.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, the annual energy bill for a typical single-family home is approximately $2,200, with heating and cooling accounting for approximately half of the bill. The programmable thermostat, developed in the 1970s, promised to help people conserve energy, but 89 percent of owners rarely or never set a program.

The Nest Learning Thermostat addresses the programming problem through a combination of sensors, algorithms, machine learning and cloud computing. The Nest thermostat programs itself based on the temperatures you set. It then learns your personal schedule in a week and starts automatically turning down heating or cooling when you’re away to save energy.

You can even connect the Nest thermostat to your home’s Wi-Fi network to control it from your laptop, smart phone or tablet. Change the temperature, adjust your schedule and check your energy use.

For more information, visit www.nest.com.

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