Google buys programmable thermostat company

Google has bought a programmable thermostat company which is attracting lots of attention for helping consumer lower utility uses and overall costs.

Google paid $3.2 billion to purchase Nest, according to press accounts.

Nest has partnership with several utility companies to help consumers lower utility costs.

Thermostats control half of your home’s energy - more than appliances, lighting, TVs, computers and stereos combined.

If your thermostat isn’t programmed, you could be wasting around $173 a year, according to Nest.

The Nest thermostat is programmable and can be controlled from a smart phone. It also will "learn" from when and how a home is used and make automatic adjustments in both heating and cooling.

Nest has struck deals with close to 20 utility companies which paid Nest $30 to $50 per thermostat annually, to manage the energy usage of Nest customers who had opted into their utility’s demand-response program.

As part of the program, Nest temporarily take over the healing and cooling of a homes for a set period, perhaps a few hours, and customers are notified that an “event” is set to happen some time beforehand.

When Nest does this over multiple homes in a neighborhood or county it claims it lower energy costs for utilities by 50%, by re-routing peak energy being used in empty homes.

Implications of the transactions are discussed in this Associated Press story.