Sponsored by: Nest Pro
You can’t read anything about the construction industry without coming across an article discussing the benefits of green construction and remodeling in one form or another. There’s a reason – green construction is all the rage these days – and homeowners and buyers are willing to pay for the extra costs involved.
According to a recent study released by the National Association of Home Builders entitled “Green and Healthier Homes: Engaging Customers of All Ages in Sustainable Living,” attitudes toward green building were examined in depth and one thing was made perfectly clear: homeowners want to do what they can to make their spaces as green as possible, within their individual budgets¹.
Home builders and remodelers agree that consumer willingness to pay for green homes and upgrades has increased dramatically since 2011. By and large, the most influential green factor for all age groups was energy efficiency. That’s where the Nest line of thermostats can make a big difference in your next construction project.
Nest is a Family Built on Efficiency
Nest is more than just another programmable thermostat; it’s a simple way you can start any homeowner on their journey to owning a more energy efficient house. The original Nest Learning Thermostat is now in its third generation and is only getting smarter. With a price point around $250, however, it can seem somewhat cost prohibitive for first-time homeowners who may not realize the vast benefits of the technology packed into this tiny device.
That’s why Nest has recently released a more simple version of their smart thermostat called the Nest Thermostat E. At $169, the price point may be a far easier sell for those with energy efficient home aspirations, but more limited budgets. As a construction professional, you can now partner with Nest and take advantage of their unique Nest Pro program that gives you exclusive access to discounts on equipment and training materials for all Nest products, so everyone can reap the benefits.
Both the Nest Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat E can help homeowners realize significant savings on their utility bills. Independent studies show that, on average, homes with Nest thermostats installed reduce their heating usage by 10 to 12 percent and their air conditioning usage by 15 percent. Based on typical energy costs, that’s between $131 and $145 in estimated savings per year, every year they own and use the thermostat.*
What Makes a Nest Thermostat Special
All programmable thermostats can save homeowners money if they’ll bother to program them to reduce utility usage when no one’s home or during times when a slightly higher or lower temperature can be tolerated. The problem is that many don’t know how to program these devices properly or simply don’t bother to do it. That’s where the Nest thermostat comes in. There’s no programming required, aside from a little bit of initial training on the part of the homeowner. This consists of simply setting the thermostat to comfortable temperatures throughout the day and nothing more.
Both the Nest Thermostat and Nest Thermostat E have some pretty impressive equipment under the hood. They don’t just measure the temperature in the room. They can also measure room humidity, sense motion and ambient light and can connect via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
The original Nest Learning Thermostat, however, has a few more bells and whistles. It features a higher resolution, full color display that makes it easy to change settings from the device itself, as well as Farsight technology. Essentially, this Farsight an extension of Nest’s motion-sensing ability. When the thermostat detects that the homeowner has arrived or entered the room, it will display a preselected informational panel. This might be a clock, a weather forecast or information from other Nest products in the home.
HVAC System Compatibility
Most of the smart thermostats on the market right now require a C-wire to function properly, but that’s not an issue with Nest. This is another vital selling point for homeowners looking to start their energy efficient upgrade, especially in older homes where it may be relatively difficult to run a new thermostat wire. The original Nest Thermostat is compatible with about 95 percent of the HVAC systems in common use; Nest Thermostat E has a more limited wiring harness, but it’s still able to connect to an estimated 85 percent of HVAC systems.
Wiring Harness Wires for Nest Thermostats
Properly Utilizing Eco Mode on the Nest
The original Nest Thermostat can handle complex systems with added features like humidifiers and dehumidifiers, for example, and even be taught how dry the house should be. As you can see from the provided wiring chart, Nest Thermostat E is more limited in functionality, but should suffice for most modern HVAC systems. It’s important to note that Nest thermostats are designed to be jumperless, so you won’t need to deal with jumpering Rh to Rc, for example, if you’re installing a Nest Thermostat on a system with a heat pump. As long as the O/B wire is properly installed, the thermostat will be able to activate both modes on the condenser unit.
You may already be aware that the Nest family of thermostats are designed to automatically reduce energy usage when nobody’s home, using a combination of information coming from the sensor inside the thermostat itself and data from the homeowner’s phone. When the Nest thermostat determines that the house is empty, it can be set to automatically go into Eco Mode to conserve even more energy.
But Eco Mode isn’t just limited to when the homeowner is away, it can be utilized when they’re home, too, without activating Away Mode (which would then turn all Nest devices to “away” status). When you install the thermostat, you’ll be asked to establish the parameters for Eco Mode, between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit for heating and 76 and 90 degrees for cooling. It’s important to choose a temperature range for Eco Mode that’s tolerable to all living things in the household, since these will be the temperatures that Nest uses to conserve energy when nobody is home. Pets and plants can suffer significant damage if these temperature ranges aren’t considered carefully.
The homeowner will know their thermostat is in Eco Mode because a green leaf will appear on the thermostat, along with the word “ECO.” If Eco Mode activates due to an empty house, it will also automatically disengage when it detects the home owners have returned. However, if they elect to switch Eco Mode on because it’s a particularly nice day out and they want to throw the windows open, for example, they’ll have to remember to turn Eco Mode off for Nest to resume heating and cooling operations.
The Bottom Line: Nest Thermostats are Great Energy Saving Incentives and Upgrades
Although the energy savings might not seem terribly significant in the short run, your buyers and clients are more green-conscious than they’ve ever been and with each year they’re developing a stronger interest in efficiency. Today’s buyers want green features, even if it’s a small drop in the bigger pond. By introducing Nest products to a homebuyer or homeowner looking for a green remodel, you can give your customers more of what they want in a way that’s not technically overwhelming to the extent that setting up things like solar panels can be.
Nest can provide them with a more efficient and cost-effective solution and it can pay for itself in just a couple of years.* Ultimately, the energy savings and convenience of being able to change the indoor temperature of the home from absolutely anywhere there’s a cellular signal or Wi-Fi connection available will be a highly appealing draw that can lead to long-term client relationships and referrals.
*Independent studies showed that Nest saved people an average of 10% to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling. Based on typical energy costs, we’ve estimated average savings of $131 to $145 a year. That means the Nest Learning Thermostat can pay for itself in under two years. Individual savings are not guaranteed.
Sponsored by: Nest Pro