A Smarter Programmable Thermostat

Posted on May 1, 2012 by The Modern Gal

photo courtesy of Nest

Any good Greenist probably already knows that one way to save energy around the house is to install a programmable thermostat for your home’s heating and cooling systems. You program the thermostat to cut back its efforts at night or when you’re out of the house during the day, and boom, you’re saving energy.

But what about the times when there’s an unseasonable change in the middle of the day? Do you reprogram the thermostat with every slight change in the weather? And do you remember to change the programming when you go out of town for the week? How about for the weekend?

Here’s where the Nest thermostat becomes an even greater tool for saving energy at home. Billed as “the learning thermostat,” Nest was designed by Tony Fadell, who helped Apple design the iPod. Instead of programming Nest, it learns your habits as you adjust the temperature yourself in the first couple of weeks that it’s installed in your home. Over time it builds a heating or cooling schedule that likely reflects your habits better than a schedule you would program on your own. It’s not a one-time program, either. As your habits change, Nest changes with them.

On top of that, Nest has a web and smartphone component. Drastic change in the weather while you’re at the office? Forget to turn the heat back before leaving town? Use your iPhone to change the setting of your Nest thermostat.

The Nest thermostat costs $250, which I realize is a lot of money. But Nest claims that it can save the average household enough money to make that back over the course of about a year and a half.

Now, I haven’t actually tried Nest, though I know some folks who have and rave about it. Nor have I been contacted by Nest for a review. I’m just sharing what sounds like a cool Greenist-friendly product. Anyone tried it?


  1. I’ve heard of this one, but have always been skeptical about it. I’m not convinced my “habits” are any more reliable than the daily and weekly schedule I set for my programmable thermostat is. If there are variances in my schedule, they aren’t routine ones, so I have no idea how Nest accounts for that. The thing looks cool, though. And programmable thermostats in general are a great idea, obviously. Having one is a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned!

    May 2nd, 2012 at 9:59 am
    Comment by Stefanie
  2. I could not be more excited about the programmable thermostat in my new house. I have wanted one for YEARS, and now since I own a place and can do whatever I want in there, I will put it to good use. I’m interested in feedback on this one — I hope we get some comments from people who have tried it!

    May 2nd, 2012 at 11:17 am
    Comment by Courtney

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If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It


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