‘Nest Renew’ lets Google thermostats use more clean energy as ‘Premium’ tier unlocks renewable energy credits
As part of a company-wide effort to let users make “more sustainable choices,” Google is introducing “Nest Renew.” This service lets Nest Thermostat owners prioritize clean energy when heating and cooling.
The main Nest Renew feature is “Energy Shift” to cool and heat your home when more clean sources of energy are available. Electricity grids today use a mix of solar, wind, and other carbon-free sources, as well as fossil fuels (coal, gas, etc.) depending on the time of day. Your Nest Thermostat will “automatically shift” usage to when grid emissions are lower, which often also means cheaper energy rates.
In making these adjustments, Google aims to not “sacrifice comfort,” with users able to set their thermostats directly. Another aspect of Energy Shift is Scheduled Tuneups that are based on the existing Seasonal Savings capability. Taking place at the beginning of seasons, small temperature adjustments are made to your heating/cooling schedule. This tweaks are meant to save you energy.
After enabling, Nest Renew is automated and works in the background. There will be visual indicators on your thermostat, emails, and activity summaries. This includes a monthly impact report and web dashboard that shows what kind of energy (carbon-free vs. intensive) is being used to cool/heat your home throughout the day. Google hopes to “increase the number of devices in the home that can communicate with Renew” in the future, but in the meantime, those manual stats can help influence when you decide to use other appliances, like washing machines.
Meanwhile, a gamification aspect lets you get Renew Leafs through continued usage and monthly challenges. With what they have earned, users can “vote to direct Nest Renew funds to your choice of nonprofits from our list of partners across the US.”
These can range from supporting clean energy career training, to expanding access to clean energy options like rooftop or community solar projects in communities around the country.
The other big tentpole is a “Nest Renew Premium” tier. “Renew Basic” encompasses all the features above and is available for free, but paying $10 a month will let you “Clean Energy Match.”
Google (on your behalf) will purchase renewable energy credits to match/account for your (estimated) fossil fuel electricity usage at home. Overall, this is similar to carbon offsets offered by various energy utilities.
With Clean Energy Match, you can have confidence that every time you use electricity in your home — whether it’s turning on the lights, running the laundry or watching TV — it’s supporting clean energy sources.
In the US, this will be sourced from the Bethel Wind project in Castro County, Texas, while 2023 will see the Roseland Solar project in Falls County, Texas, go online. Both are part of Google’s Energy Portfolio:
As Renew Premium enrollment grows, we will be applying our carbon-targeted procurement approach to consider new projects, and we hope to announce more in this space in the future.
Nest Renew is available for owners of the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat, Thermostat E, or $129 Nest Thermostat living in the continental US using Google Accounts. You can join a waitlist with an invite-only early preview rolling out over the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Renew Premium will be available for $10/month in select US markets and expanding over time.
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