Rising power bills have hit most of us over the last few years. A new thermostat launching in the UK, lets you manage your consumption and reducing heating bills.
The Nest Learning Thermostat combines a thermostat with a built-in scheduler to reduce energy consumption and bills.
According to Ofgem, the average yearly energy bill in the UK is £1,342, of which 66% is spent on heating. Electricity consumption, and with it bills, could be reduced simply by programming our thermostats.
Nest Labs - which was recently bought by Google for £2 billion - says four out of 10 households don’t even have a thermostat and of those that do, many find them overly complicated.
Connecting to your central heating and compatible with a wide range of heating systems, the Nest Learning Thermostat incorporates temperature, humidity, light and activity sensors and communicates with your boiler to turn it on and off.
Instead of programming the device manually, the device’s Auto-Schedule mode notices when you turn the heating up or down and within a few days, automatically programmes itself to your behaviour patterns.
Auto Away, on the other hand, detects physical movements in the house and adjusts the heating so you aren’t unnecessarily heating an empty house.
Lionel Pailet, general manager at Nest Labs said the company’s American customers have cut their bills by up to a fifth by using the thermostats.
“Nest Learning Thermostat customers in the US experience savings of approximately 20% on average off their heating and cooling bill and we’re looking forward to helping customers in the U.K. save as well,” he said.
According to Nest, the saving depends on factors such as house, climate, existing setpoint schedule and active features. Savings can range from 4% to 29%, resulting in annual savings from £ 9 to £ 353
Nest Labs was founded by ex-Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers. After leaving Apple, Fadell started to build an energy-efficient house, where he discovered lots of household objects that hadn’t progressed.
“The way Tony and Matt look at innovation is reinventing unloved products around the house,” said Pailet.
The pair worked on the first iPod and iPhone, and have brought the same design ethos to the Nest Learning Thermostat, which is sleek, curved and doesn’t look anything like a traditional heat controller. Instead of plastic, it’s made from premium materials, and stylish touches like a metal band that reflects the wall behind help it blend in.
The Nest Thermostat has been available in the US since 2011, but technical differences between heating systems either side of the Atlantic mean that even though it works in the same way, the UK version is a different device.
In Europe houses are heated by water in radiators, while in the US air is pushed through pipes. The voltage system differs too, requiring professional installation in the UK by a Nest Certified Professional.
Nest Labs has focused as much on software and hardware, which means the device can receive software updates wirelessly over wi-fi (or via its own system). This means that extra functionality could be added in the future.
You can adjust the temperature of the Nest Learning Thermostat using an iOS and Android smartphone or tablet, and you can also view a report showing the previous month’s usage in order to understand your energy habits and work out whether changes – and savings - can be made.
Third parties are being encouraged to develop apps for the device, so in the future it could even be integrated into a car and might work with GPS to turn the heating on before you get home.
The Nest Learning Thermostat costs £179 from John Lewis, Amazon, Apple and B&Q or the Nest website. Alternatively it costs £249 with professional installation. The Stand for the Nest Thermostat is £29. Energy Provider Npower has confirmed it will be offering Nest to millions of its customers to help them save money.