Innovation That Matters

Intelligent thermostat learns from user behavior


Nest is the world’s first self-programming thermostat, designed to save energy.

A few months ago we featured NXP Semiconductors, the wifi-controlled light bulbs designed to improve energy conservation in homes. Now, in the US, Nest are hoping to save households money on their heating bills with a thermostat that is not only controlled remotely, but learns user behavior and programs itself. Nest was founded by former Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, who claim that the “world’s first learning thermostat” can cut home heating and cooling use by an average of 30 percent, compared to a standard thermostat. Nest has a stainless steel outer ring and an LED display screen, measuring three inches in diameter altogether. Once installed, the user answers some simple questions about heating preferences and habits, and then continues to use the thermostat as they would normally — for example, turning it down when they leave the house. Over one week Nest will learn user behaviors and create a bespoke heating or cooling schedule. It continues to learn over time, so one-off temperature changes won’t affect the schedule, but if repeatedly changed it will readjust the programme. Its sensors can detect when no one is home, causing the device to activate the Auto-Away feature, which stops energy being used to heat or cool an empty home. A green leaf symbol indicates when the user is saving energy, and the ‘Energy History’ feature can tell the user how much energy they have consumed. This feature can also tell users whether their energy consumption is most affected by the weather, the Auto Away feature or manual temperature adjustments. Users can also control the thermostat — which will retail at USD 249 — online or using an app on their smartphone. The video below demonstrates some of Nest’s features: With energy prices continually rising, consumers are looking for more ways to reduce their consumption. So what other household appliances could benefit from a innovative touch to help reduce energy use and monthly bills?



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