Technology: Green Power


The key to the Nest thermostat is how it learns from your behaviour what to do and when. For example, if you get home from work and turn up the heating two or three times in a row, it will adjust to a higher temperature until it senses you turning it down or off. It’s these little incremental things that it does that lead to bigger savings overall. Spending a little more cash on some separate individual thermostats will mean you can tailor the temperatures in certain rooms. Say your dog is at home in the utility room for a few hours and the temperature drops, you can easily set the device to maintain a comfortable heat in that room, while economising on the rest of the house.

Another canny little trick is knowing where you are. If you normally leave for work at seven in the morning, it’ll have a look around using sensors and keep the heating on if you’re still around. It’ll check your location via your phone and if everyone is out, it’ll switch off or go into background mode with a money-saving heat setting. Naturally it logs everything, so you can see how much you’ve saved and also how to make its predictions and your heating bills better. There’s also the option to control things via your mobile phone – of course. It wouldn’t be Google without some kind of product synergy, would it?

Sadly, there’s no space to write volumes about one of my favourite things – electric
cars. However, Tesla, possibly the most famous name in electric vehicles, also does a very neat line in solar tiles for roofs. The two main advantages of these are that they look like a regular man-made roof tile and that they capture and more importantly store, the energy from the sun. This really is something of a game-changer when you consider that they are often cheaper than conventional tiles. Depending on your local rules and regulations, you could build a house that pretty much pays all its own electricity bills.

Obviously, common sense applies as well, so turn your thermostat down, turn off the lights, and fit LEDs. There’s no app for that, just go  old-style digital and use your hands.