Save Energy and Money with The Nest and Meridian Smart Thermostat

Here’s a common misconception: It takes more energy to heat up a cool house than it does to keep it warm all the time.

Why is that statement wrong? Because it doesn’t take into account what actually happens when you heat your home. Heat moves from from hot to cold: the bigger the difference between the hot side and the cold side, then the higher the rate of heat transfer. In other words, you will eventually lose all that heat. So then, which uses more energy: keeping a house heated to 72°F when it’s 32°F outside? OR keeping a house heated to 65°F when it’s 32°F outside?

Keeping a house heated to 72°F will use more energy because that’s 40°F higher than outside and the heat transfer rate will be higher. Keeping a house heated to 65°F uses less energy because it’s only 33°F warmer than outside and the heat transfer will be less. So, if you turn down your heat to 65°F when you’re not home or not active, you will save money. Yes, you will use energy to warm up the house, BUT that amount won’t be as high as the amount energy you would have lost by keeping your home heated to a higher temperature.

So, with heating consuming about half of your home’s energy costs, the better control you have on heating and cooling the more energy —and money— you can save. If you have a conventional forced-air heating/cooling system, the right tool for this job is a programmable thermostat. You can save an average of $180 off annual energy costs!

But most programmable thermostats are never set up to operate at peak efficiency, and instead waste 20% of your potential energy savings. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reports, “Today’s modern programmable thermostats (PTs) are complicated and difficult for users to understand, leading to errors in operation and wasted energy.”

Luckily, there are two thermostat systems on the market that monitor how you use energy to heat and cool your home and then adjust temperature settings to reduce your usage and save you money. They also have simpler set-up routines, so there’s less time-wasting confusion and less wasted energy. And both of them are available through Direct Energy.

The Nest

The Nest is a learning thermostat. You don’t actually program anything. Instead, the Nest learns your usage habits and then programs itself. It does this by recording your daily patterns of how you set your home’s temperature: when you get up, when you leave, when you return, and when you go to bed. After one week, it does the whole job on its own. Its motion sensors adjust temperatures automatically when you are home or if you leave- and there’s even a vacation setting. The Nest delivers customized, efficient climate control, and saves you money. When it’s running at its most efficient, it displays The Nest Leaf.

Plus, you can control The Nest remotely with a computer or mobile device using The Nest app. It will even email you a customized energy report to help you save energy. The Nest comes with easy to install instructions but you can also have it professionally installed, as well. For energy consumers in Alberta, Canada, it’s available FREE as part of Direct Energy’s 5-Year Comfort & Control Dual Fuel Plan.

The Meridian Thermostat

The Meridian Thermostat is a user-friendly smart thermostat available only to Texas energy consumers. The Meridian thermostat system monitors and analyzes your energy usage and then recommends changes you can make that will increase your savings. Setup is simplicity itself. You set the program settings online right when you order it. You can access those simple temperature controls from any place and at any time via your computer or mobile device. You’ll never waste energy or money from heating or cooling an empty house.

The real energy saving beauty of this programmable thermostat is the free Meridian mobile app (developed by Opower to work with Honeywell smart thermostats) for Android or iOs. The app connects over the web to the smart thermostat and uses data-driven analysis to track your home’s energy-usage for heating and cooling. It calculates the most efficient temperature settings for you and recommends a new setting in the app’s “Set for Savings” feature. You can also see just how your home compares with similar homes’ energy use. Often, just by tweaking the temperature setting, consumers can save about 10% more off their energy consumption.

How can you enjoy the benefits of the Meridian Smart Thermostat? Just sign up for The Meridian Savings Plan to receive a competitive 24-month fixed rate electricity plan, a FREE 20-point HVAC seasonal maintenance, and professional installation of the Meridian Smart Thermostat.

The best thing about these two smart thermostat systems is that there’s no steep learning curve that burns up your time during setup. You also won’t waste time experimenting with settings to find the ones that save you the most money. These thermostats do all the learning for you, and the lessons they learn are all about how to save you money when heating and cooling your home.

That’s pretty smart.


Vernon Trollinger is a writer with a background in home improvement, electronics, fiction writing, and archaeology. He now writes about green energy technology, home energy efficiency, the natural gas industry, and the electrical grid.