Nest has always claimed that its “smart thermostats” can save you money. Now it has the data to support its assertion.
Three studies of customers in 41 states find average savings of 10% to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling. The Google-owned device may cost $250–but it seems to be worth it.
Nest is described as a “learning” thermostat. Rather than programming it yourself–say, to come on when you wake up in the morning–it does the job for you. It analyzes your daily routine and adjusts accordingly. For example, it will turn down the heat automatically if you’re not at home.
There were three studies in all: one in Oregon, one in Indiana, and another multi-state survey of customers using Nest’s MyEnergy service. The first two were designed, funded and evaluated by the nonprofit Energy Trust of Oregon and Vectren Energy, a utility. They all compared bills before and after installation, and normalized results for changing weather conditions.
Nest says customers saved $130 on average per year, meaning that the device would pay for itself in less than two years. But it’s important to note that the numbers are averages and actual values will vary. “Savings in any given home can vary significantly from these averages due to differences in how people used their prior thermostat and how they use their Nest Learning Thermostat, as well as due to occupancy patterns, housing characteristics, heating and cooling equipment, and climate,” says the white-paper discussing the results. Also, the lions share of customers were from the MyEnergy sample, not the two independently verified ones.