Change the temperature a few times and the Nest learns how to keep you home at the right temp (at the right time).
As Nest is quick to point out in its new white paper, the yearly savings amount to about a 15% reduction in heating and cooling bills and mean that the $249 Nest pays for itself well before the two-year mark. That’s an important selling point for the Nest, although many people are probably snapping the device up for its cool factor alone. The Nest reduces energy use by learning your preferences and then developing its own schedule, so you don’t need to try to program it yourself.
Figuring out just how much one thermostat saves over another thermostat has long been a tricky business. In fact, thermostats lost the ability to get Energy Star ratings in 2009 because it’s hard to tell how much they save. Nest points to users failing to program their programmable thermostats as being part of the issue, and that makes sense – some older thermostats are pretty difficult to properly program. The Nest Thermostat, on the other hand, programs itself. Nest says that 95% of its devices have personalized schedules.
The EPA is making comments that suggest it might be open to changing its Energy Star stance for certain modern thermostats, so Nest may just have a shot at an Energy Star label down the road.