Why the World Needs More Nests

Posted on December 5, 2011


(Courtesy of Nest Labs)

Every few years a product is launched that revolutionizes an industry. Shortly after the iPod was sold to the mass market, cassette sales became extinct and digital music sales climbed. With the launch of the Nest Learning Thermostat from the creator of Apple’s iPod, Tony Fadell, the energy management industry is poised for a change. The iconic, innovative Nest is so easy to use that it will make you want to use it as often as you used your first iPod, although you’ll barely need to touch it. Just as a bird’s nest maintains its nestlings’ temperature and protects them from adverse weather, this Nest is designed to do the same – only in an automated way.

The Nest founders cite that 90% of programmable thermostats are never programmed. With 10 million thermostats purchased each year and nearly a quarter of a billion working across the country, this has the potential to save thousands of dollars per household over the lifetime of the product. Given the never-ending rise of home energy costs, there are three reasons why the world needs more eco-friendly solutions like the Nest because it’s:

Simple: With the one-button click-wheel that was ubiquitous across all iPods, you can create the perfect balance between comfort and conservation. Its mirrored finish and circular shape is much more elegant than the beige boxes most of us have. It shows a blue color for cooling and orange color for heating so it’s easy to understand. The Set Up begins when you answer three simple questions after it’s installed:

  1. What is your zip code?
  2. Should Nest start heating or cooling your home?
  3. What are the lowest and highest temperatures you’d like when you are away?

Smart: The Nest Learning Thermostat does just that: learns. (Click here to watch how Nest learns.) After only one week, it knows enough about your energy habits that it will program itself to optimize your energy use. This is the only thermostat that programs itself around your life – not the other way around. The average user changes the thermostat 1500 times per year – often inefficiently – so this solution is the smart way to change. The smarts also go wherever you go since you can use the free iPhone or Android app to change what you want when you want it. Another benefit it the Auto Away feature that is intelligently triggered by proximity (motion) detection sensors. If the Nest concludes that no one is home, it automatically adjusts the temperature to the settings answered from the third question above.

(Courtesy: Dept. of Energy)

Saving: With over 50% of your energy bill driven by heating and cooling costs (see pie chart), the average Nest user reduces their annual costs by at least $250 – which pays for the device. The Nest encourages you to conserve by showing you a green leaf whenever you turn your temperature one degree to save energy. That move alone can lower your energy costs by 5% during that period of time.

So the Nest designers have mastered the art of creating technology that makes a difference for a greener planet and a simpler way of life. Let’s hope the Nest team or other inspired innovators will simplify our microwaves, washers, dryers and other appliances to make a difference in the quality of our lives while contributing to a cleaner environment.

What device or gadget would you like to see redesigned in a revolutionary way?

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© 2011 by Ed Valdez. All rights reserved.

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Posted in: Eco Leader