Google is preparing to launch a new set of Nest Thermostat features to help you save money—and the planet. Wrapped within a free service called Nest Renew, these new features are currently invite-exclusive, though they should roll out over the coming months.
Nest Renew connects your Thermostat to electric providers, allowing you to identify operating hours when energy is at its cheapest or its cleanest. Once you’ve set up Nest Renew, you can program your Thermostat to automatically shift heating or cooling activities to cheap or clean hours, thereby saving money on your electric bill and reducing your carbon footprint.
Interestingly, Nest Renew works in areas that enforce “time of use” charges—those extra fees that power companies enforce during peak operating hours to reduce strain on the electric grid. If you’re having trouble avoiding these charges, you now have a good reason to buy a Nest Thermostat.
Here are the six features offered in a Nest Renew subscription:
- Energy Shift: Nest Thermostat will automatically shift power usage to times when energy is cheaper or cleaner.
- Online Dashboard: Provides a quick look at how much clean energy your home is using. In theory, you could use this dashboard to adjust your energy use habits, scheduling dish washers and dryers to times when clean energy powers the grid.
- Monthly Impact Reports: Monthly updates to tell you how your energy usage impacts the environment.
- Clean Energy Match (Premium Feature): U.S. solar and wind plants can match your estimated fossil fuel electricity use with renewable energy credits.
- Schedule Tuneups: Makes small adjustments to your HVAC schedule based on the time of year. Basically, an updated version of the Seasonal Savings feature.
- Energy Impact Program: A game that lets you choose which green energy organizations receive donations from Google.
Nest Renew works on Google’s latest smart thermostats, specifically the Nest Thermostat, the Nest Thermostat E, and the Nest Learning Thermostat. The Basic Nest Renew plan is free and works across the United States, though a $10 a month Premium plan unlocks the Clean Energy Match feature and allows you to pay your electric bill through Nest.
By the way, Nest Renew is different from Google’s Rush Hour Rewards program, which lets energy companies remotely adjust your Thermostat to reduce strain on the power grid. Rush Hour Rewards is enabled by default if you get a free Nest Thermostat from your utility company, and users enrolled in the program usually get discounts on their electric bill. The new Nest Renew subscription can work concurrently with Rush Hour Rewards to maximize savings.
Google is opening Nest Renew as an invite-only program. You can ask to try the feature on the company’s Nest Renew landing page, or wait a few months for the feature to arrive on all Nest Thermostats.