The Haney Energy Saving Group: Nest thermostat saves energy, says research

Nest Labs has recently announced the results of 3 energy-savings research which apparently prove that their Learning Thermostat can save users as much as 15% on cooling bills and 12% on heating bills. That's roughly USD150 in savings annually and a return of investment in just 2 years.


The two studies were apparently designed and funded independently -- one of them was done by a utility company in Indiana called Vectren and the other one by Energy Trust of Oregon. The third one was done by the Nest company itself on a national scale. They all monitored users' energy consumption before and after the installation of Nest Thermostat.

According to the general manager Ben Bixby, "With this information in hand, customers can feel even more confident about investing in a Nest Thermostat, and our energy partners can be assured that energy-efficiency programs involving Nest will have an impact."

Nest's thermostat is supposed to 'learn' as it is being used; for instance, it can remember certain temperatures that the user usually sets, sense how long it takes to cool or heat up a room then adapt accordingly. It's also designed to detect if the user is home so it can automatically turn itself off if not, as The Haney Energy Saving Group found out.

Nest's founder Matt Rogers said in his post, "Nest is constantly improving. Some saved less on their energy bills, some saved more ... that affected their energy bills more than switching thermostats ever could. But on average, after people installed Nest they saw real savings." In fact, in the last couple of years, Nest developers have updated the system over 30 times to add new features.

The Haney Energy Saving Group reported that Nest users will be given additional support starting this month: an access to a live Energy Advisor that they can consult about energy savings using their Nest Thermostat based on their particular circumstance.

Various thermostat makers, along with the Environmental Protection Agency of the US, have previously claimed that a programmable thermostat can potentially save homeowners around 20% on cooling/heating bills. However, most of their calculations were simply based on correctly-programmed thermostat settings as opposed to a thermostat that's left at one temperature constantly. Because of such difficulty in acquiring actual savings data, programmable thermostats lost the Energy Star rating in 2009. Now, with three studies actually determining how much energy savings thermostats are capable of when programmed well, they might just get it back.

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