I recently wrote an article for Jetson Green about the ecobee programmable thermostat (which Matt Grocoff (Greenovation TV) first brought to my attention after he saw it at this year’s Greenbuild. It’s a nice programmable thermostat with wireless connectivity and a number of other good features.
But then, earlier this week, I saw a bunch of posts (including one at Jetson Green that I didn’t write) about another programmable thermostat called Nest that learns about the house over time. It’s also a nice thermostat with a more user-friendly appearance and a number of appealing features.
Of the two, I’m more intrigued by the Nest thermostat. The ecobee sort of struck me as a basic programmable thermostat with some nice features tacked on to it (WiFi connection, color display), but not much to really justify the $300-$400 price. The Nest doesn’t necessarily do a whole lot more, but the adaptive learning that it does perform is certainly intriguing, and the suggested price of $250 is lower than that of ecobee.
I’m less certain that the little green leaf displayed by Leaf is as useful as it is touted. The product literature says the leaf lights up “when you are saving energy,” but does that just mean it’s lit up when the furnace (or AC) is cycled off? Does that really help?
I’m interested in finding out more about how both of these perform in real-world applications, so I will be looking for real users stories about these. Of course, as I said in my article about the ecobee, “…many programmable thermostats are, in fact, never programmed and consequently, the benefits and savings that could come from having it aren’t realized. A smart appliance like this will only save energy (and money) for you if you use it intelligently.”
Edit to add: After writing about these here, I adapted this and posted another piece for EcoGeek about these thermostats.