Nest & Smart controls
As the price of energy continues to rise, newer and smarter technology is being continually developed to make heating systems as efficient as possible. Boilers are now more efficient than ever, but heating your home can still be expensive if you're not smart with your usage. With 60% of household energy consumed through central heating, even small changes in your usage can produce significant financial savings.*
As many as 80% of homes in the UK don't have any heating controls** which means many people will only have their heating 'on' or 'off'. This would be the same as having a single switch for all the lights in your home - except lights cost a lot less to run than your central heating system. Smart controls promise to make it easier for homeowners to monitor and control their energy usage, saving energy and money with little to no effort.
What's the benefit of smart controls over traditional controls?
Traditional room thermostats offer a basic level of control and allows users to change the temperature of the whole house, but these are often left at the same temperature and rarely changed. Settings are usually changed via a dial or a keypad. Smart controls offer a much greater level of control - usually over the internet via a smartphone, tablet or computer - as well as a more intuitive user interface, making it simpler and easier to take control of your energy usage. Being internet enabled lets you control your heating remotely - perfect if you've left for the day and you've forgotten to turn your heating off at home.
How do smart controls work?
Smart controls are packed with features to help curb your energy use, such as downloading weather reports to know whether it's going to be particularly cold or hot that day, or using sensors to recognise when your home is empty and turning down the heating. Different models have different approaches to saving energy. The Nest Learning Thermostat monitors user habits and creates a personalised heating schedule, whereas the Honeywell evohome turns each room into a 'zone' - which allows you to set your living room to heat during the afternoon but the bedrooms to warm up later on in the evening - preventing you from wasting money heating empty rooms.
Do they really save money?
Yes - in independent studies, the Nest Thermostat saved an average of 10-12% on heating bills and, according to Honeywell, their evohome technology can cut energy bills by up to 40%.
Are there any additional benefits to owning a smart control?
Yes - some smart controls can connect to other internet-enabled devices, turning your house into a smart home. For example, some modern cars can recognise when you're nearly at home and can tell your thermostat to turn on so that your house is warm on arrival. Nest Labs have an entire platform called Works With Nest which is dedicated to creating partnerships with modern products to work with Nest. Visit the Nest website for more information about their Works With Nest program.