Nest Labs, based in Palo Alto, CA, designed The Nest Learning Thermostat, a simple and intelligent thermostat that programs itself in one week to keep you comfy and save a lot of energy (and money).

Almost looks like an Apple product, right?  Not surprising since the two co-founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, both helped develop and design many generations of the iPod and iPhone.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is different from other digital thermostats in that,

  • it is simple (according to one study, 90% of programmable thermostats are rarely or never programmed since they're so complicated to operate),
  • it continues to "learn" and improve efficiency using a combination of sensors and algorithms,
  • it connects to WiFi to integrate current weather conditions in understanding energy use,
  •  it is easily controllable remotely using your computer or smartphone, and finally,
  • it just looks awesome.

"We’ve built the world’s first learning thermostat — a thermostat for the iPhone generation," Mr. Fadell said.

Why so much excitement about a thermostat?  As Nest puts it, "We didn't think thermostats mattered either... until we learned they control about 50% of our energy bill".

So true!  Check out this article I wrote about learning the hard way about the impact of heating/cooling.

The Nest "leaf"  appears on your thermostat when you are saving energy -- and changing the temperature just one degree can cut your energy use by up to 5%.

Though the Nest has a steeper price tag than other thermostats ($249), the savings are immediate and you'll have a payback period of 1-2 years.

But no use in trying to snag a Nest for this Christmas, since they've already sold out for 2011.  But you can still put your name in to order a Nest for early 2012.

Check out this video to see the Nest in action.

via Dead Rooster