Google-owned home tech provider Nest is hoping to take on Hive from British Gas as the king of smart heating control, with a little help from Apple and Npower.
Nest uses a smart thermostat which learns your temperature preferences and monitors when you’re in and out of the house to save you money, claiming an average saving of 18 per cent per home.
It’s on sale now and Nest, which was bought by Google in 2013, will also be offered to customers of energy provider Npower later this year.
Maxime Veron, Nest’s head of product marketing, said: “British people are very good at saving money by just turning the heating off and putting on a jumper. They like to be comfortable instead of finding an exact temperature, but around 40 per cent of British homes do not even have a thermostat.
“The Nest app gives users control over how much energy they use and how much they’re heating their home, but also how they are saving energy.
“You can set your own temperature point but let Nest do the heavy lifting and set a schedule, and it will be different for you and your house from your neighbour.”
As with most smart heating control systems, Nest consists of a wireless thermostat, Nest Link, and a controller which turns your boiler on and off when the thermostat tells it to do so, called the Heat Link.
Most smart heating systems require you to programme in a heating schedule, but Nest learns from your actions – turn it on when you wake up, turn it off when you leave the house or it’s warm enough, and it will set up temperature points throughout the week.
The starter pack of a Nest Link and Heat Link costs £179, or £249 with installation from a trained engineer. A desk stand for the thermostat costs an extra £29.
Nest says its True Radiant algorithm will reduce temperature swings and start heating early to anticipate your needs – customers with efficient houses will earn Leaves, which have been used for competitions in the US version.
It also contains humidity sensors and infra-red body heat sensors which will watch out for people in the house – it can even tell the difference between humans and pets.
The Learning Thermostat networks with the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector, and will turn off your heating if it detects elevated levels of dangerous carbon monoxide.
Nest devices communicate using a proprietary 2.4GHz protocol, Nest Weave, which is based on the same 802.15.4 standard as Zigbee, but with extra layers on top.
The system can handle up to 10 thermostats spread across two properties, and will work with multi-zoned heating systems for large homes.
Users can monitor and control Nest and their energy usage through an iOS/Android app, and will also receive a monthly email reporting their energy usage.
Nest’s retail partners at launch are Apple, John Lewis, B&Q and Amazon UK. Of its smart heating competitors, Hive costs £199 with installation and Honeywell’s Evohome is £249 with installation at your expense.