The weather is changing here in Austin, and I've spent a notable amount of time tweaking and adjusting our thermostat. We haven't programmed it for the fall and winter season yet, and to be honest, we're still trying to figure out exactly how to do it! Working at home, we don't have a clear cut schedule, so we never really know when we'll be here and when we'll be gone. When I read about a thermostat that learns your patterns for you, I was intrigued!
Nest, "The Learning Thermostat" is brought to us by a team of folks that includes Tony Fadell, formerly the Senior Vice President of iPods at Apple. Having had a large hand in the design of the iPod, Fadell introduced the attractive aesthetic and user-friendly interface to the land of the thermostat.
In many ways, this thermostat is a fancy, designer version of many programmable thermostats out there already. With a $249 price tag, it's got the flair of Apple products, enticing folks to spend more for slick gadgetry. However, after learning more about the device, I have to admit that there is a huge appeal to the technology of the thing. As far as my own household is concerned, identifying patterns in our living schedule is something best left to an expert — or a machine! Back when my fiance and I each had 9-5 jobs outside of the house, we wouldn't have needed any help. Now, we both work from home, and while our schedule now is sure to include some patterns, they're patterns that we could use some help in finding.
Nest claims to learn your habits after one week of use, and constantly adjusts to your desires and changing schedule as you "tweak" the settings. A video on their site explains how Nest will streamline your heating and cooling, within a set of parameters, and custom tailor the ambient temperature of your home according to your desired levels. Because you can set maximum and minimum temperatures for your home, as well as control your settings remotely, the idea is that you will also save money on your bills.
I recognize many of the things that make this device very appealing to the consumer. The sweet ukelele music playing in the video showing design-savvy people living in nice homes, and the slick minimalist design of the device make this a very cool thermostat. But I also have to admit that a thermostat that learns my patterns for me is an extremely attractive notion. I question whether I'll ever be able to---or take the time to---program my own thermostat for maximum efficiency. So the biggest question that remains for me? Would I spend $249 on it... How about you?