05.28.13Alan Harris

Energy Conservation: One Great Way to Save Water

Energy Conservation with Nest
The Nest Sense App on the iPad shows the settings to maximize energy conservation.

I love gadgets, saving money and reducing waste so to say I love my Nest is an understatement. Martha and Richard both previously pointed out how water and energy are intertwined like night and day, so energy conservation indirectly results in water conservation.

3 Reasons Why Nest was Intriguing

1.  Auto Schedule – after a few weeks of manually adjusting the temperature, Nest creates a schedule based on the way you live and continues to fine tune the schedule based on changes you make.
   2. Auto-Away – Nest senses when no one is home or on the floor with the controller which overrides the auto schedule and implements a special energy saving temperature setting
3. “App For That” – my favorite 3 words! As I wrote this post, my wife texted she was heading out of the house for a few hours so I logged on my Nest and changed the setting to Away before Nest even knew she was gone.

These 3 reasons were enough for me to make the $250 investment for a Christmas present for me. After I installed Nest (which was easy) I found out the finer details which I love.


5 Reasons I Love my Nest

  1. Monthly Energy Report – each month a simple, easy to read (Infographic like) report lets me know about my energy use. Thanks to the report I know the Auto-schedule feature along with manual changes resulted in 13% savings or 43 hours of heat I did not use this winter.
  2. Leaf – when an energy-efficient temperature is selected Nest displays a green Leaf. The instant feedback lets you know when your energy conservation efforts are successful. (Wouldn’t it be awesome to have this instant feedback for water conservation?)
  3. Sunblock – this feature lets Nest know when it is in direct sunlight so the temperature can be correctly adjusted. The location for my thermostat is in direct sunlight for about 45 minutes in the morning. In the past the temperature reading on the old thermostat would rise up to 10 degrees. In the summer this meant the air conditioning would unnecessarily run and make the rest of the house too cold and vice versa in the winter.
  4. Advance Fan Control – sometimes the air just needs to circulate. With Nest you can manually turn on the fan to run for 15 minutes or up to 4 hours. On my old thermostat I would turn the fan on and remember a few days later to turn it off. Nest also allows automatic scheduling of the fan to run 15 – 45 minutes every hour during the hours you want.
  5. Airwave – for air-conditioning once the desired temperature has been reached Nest turns the compressor off, but keeps the fan on to spread the remaining cool air throughout the house.

Now Hatching: More Energy Conservation at Nest

MyEnergy – Nest has acquired MyEnergy which lets you track your use of electric, gas and WATER. You can see how much you spend month over month, year over year and compare your use to neighbors and friends.

Rush Hour Rewards – if your “participating” energy company incentivizes you to use less energy when everyone else is using more, Nest will pre-cool the house before the peak energy use time. This is a new feature and only a few energy companies are participating, but more companies are likely to join. The energy grid like the water grid struggles at peak times. Limiting the use spikes helps the companies better manage their existing distribution networks without having the expand capacity.

Nest: Best Thing Since the iPod?

If Nest reminds you of Apple-like product there is a good reason. The founders of Nest, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers were both members on the iPod team. Tony led the team that created the first 18 generations of the iPod and the first three generations of the iPhone while Matt was responsible for iPod software development, from concept to production.

My Personal Energy Conservation Savings

Since MyEnergy is not yet integrated into Nest, I manually reviewed my year over year energy conservation for the first few months. Everything was going well until March when it was much colder in 2013 than in 2012 resulting in 79 more therms (natural gas). On the electrical side the energy conservation savings resulted in 107 kWh because in 2012 we used more A/C in March and April. Net result after 4 months the year over year savings resulted in $60 which means the ROI should be about 12 months. I will continue to track and if the ROI continues to track in a positive direction there will be another Nest installed in the master bedroom this summer to further maximize my energy conservation efforts.

Do you have Nest or an energy conservation story to share? Please leave your comments below or on our Facebook page, Water Bloggers.

If you liked this post about energy conservation, please share it with a friend, check out my previous posts , follow me on Twitter @h2oMatters and

Follow Me on Pinterest


Posts you may also like

Alan Harris

Alan Harris is a water management pioneer. With roots in landscape architecture, Alan has worked with irrigation throughout his career experimenting with hydrozones and a variety of high efficiency irrigation systems. Now, over thirty years in the landscape industry, Alan continues to stay apprised of the latest technology even in a sales leadership capacity as our Director of Sales Operations for our landscape maintenance division. In addition to his contributions to this blog, Alan keeps his hand in water management as a regular contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine and speaker at WaterSmart Innovations Conference.


Refresh Image


  1. [...] on an iPad for the perfect wine catered to your taste. This is a product I might enjoy more than my Nest or my [...]

  2. [...] you have a Nest thermostat you are familiar with the twist and push concept for programming. skydrop uses a similar [...]

© 2014 ValleyCrest Landscape Companies