Google Nest available through npower

The Google Nest, or Nest Learning Thermostat to give it its proper name, is now available to npower customers in the UK.

Automatic thermostat adjustments

Google Nest learns a household’s temperature preferences, automatically adjusts the thermostat and can turn the boiler on and off. It knows to turn down the heat when the house is empty, and if you want to get the heating on before you get back, a smartphone app lets you do just that, as the Google Nest connects to your wifi.

Redesign for the UK market

Google Nest has had considerable success in North America. Interestingly, it had to undergo a complete redesign before its UK introduction as, according to the GreenWorld article, “UK households tend not to have thermostats” – really? We do. UK boilers use a higher voltage wire than North American ones, another aspect that had to taken into consideration for the UK product.

Potential savings

This sort of progress, allowing fine adjustments and ‘smart’ use of energy through technology, is very welcome. Nest claims that using its gadget will help customers slice 20% off their energy bill. On the figures Nest itself gives of a UK household’s annual energy expenditure of £1,342, that saving amounts to a whopping £268. However, given that the Google Nest retails for £179, or £249 with professional installation, and if you want a stand it’s another £29, you’re looking at a couple of years before you get the benefit of the saving.

Nest won’t banish draughts

This is great, and anything that allows households close monitoring and control of their energy usage should be welcomed. It’s vital to bear in mind, however, that what the Nest will be helping to control is the temperatures as they currntly are in your house, in other words, using a Nest won’t magically make your house energy-efficient. If your boiler is over the hill, your windows aren’t double-glazed or your house is draughty then you’ll be using more energy than you need to to keep your house a comfortable temperature. Therefore, if you’re going to install a Nest, or advise people that it’s a smart move, which in many ways it probably is, remember the importance of assessing the energy-efficiency of the house as a whole.

Is your thermostat in the hall?

Despite Nest’s comments, our experience is that many UK households do have a thermostat, and often it’s in the hallway, near the front door and by a letterbox. The Ecoflap will make an enormous difference to that draughty letterbox, cutting draughts completely. The temperature rises in your hall, the thermostat can be set lower (with or without a Nest), your boiler works less hard, your energy consumption falls and so do your bills. To buy an Ecoflap, please go to the Ecoflap Store.