Modern house interior

Nest Renew from Google harnesses WattTime tech to help Nest thermostat users to prioritize clean energy automatically

 October 6, 2021 

Oakland, Calif.—October 6, 2021—Ever since smart thermostats first hit the market over a decade ago, Google’s Nest series has consistently remained an industry leader on ‘best’ lists. Today environmental tech nonprofit WattTime announced that it has partnered with Nest Renew from Google to help make it easier to participate in energy programs and support a clean energy future. This new service for compatible Nest thermostats is rolling out in early preview by invitation in the coming weeks.

Since 2011, Google estimates that Nest thermostats have reduced customers’ energy use by more than 80 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh). That’s in large part through energy conservation, such as automatically switching into ‘away’ mode when Nest detects that a residence is unoccupied. It’s also through Rush Hour Rewards, Nest’s residential demand response program, which is now active in over 80 markets across the country.

Nest Renew goes a step further. It was built on the premise that Nest thermostats can do more than just help use less energy, but also help support power grids in running on clean energy. Powered by WattTime’s Automated Emissions Reduction (AER) signal, Nest Renew helps users automatically shift their heating and cooling electricity use to times when energy is cleaner, such as when there’s surplus solar or wind energy on the nearby power grid. This practice can help avoid emissions and also support the growth of clean energy.

Nest Renew subscribers will also have access to a near real-time view of the marginal carbon intensity of their grid, helping them understand how grid emissions change throughout the day and empowering them to make more informed choices about when to use energy at home.

“Electricity isn’t always the same: it’s powered by cleaner sources at some times versus others. But it’s not as if wall outlets come labeled with which times are which,” said Gavin McCormick, executive director of WattTime. “Nest Renew from Google is a gamechanger on this front in two important ways: For one, it’s making it transparent when exactly energy is cleaner on our power grids. But also, it’s doing something really remarkable by making it possible for thermostat users to automatically adjust their usage to support clean energy without interrupting our daily routines or compromising comfort. I’m amazed by how effortless it is.”

Air conditioning alone accounts for 10% of all U.S. electricity demand.  This makes the Nest Renew from Google announcement an exciting opportunity, both for educating and empowering customers, and for supporting the U.S. power grid’s move towards operating on renewable energy. Electricity use and any associated pollution is no longer a ‘take it or leave it’ proposition for customers. They now have greater ability to choose which electricity they want to use, based on how clean it is at different times. WattTime analysis shows widespread adoption of AER technology worldwide could reduce over 3.3 billion tons of CO2 by 2030.

Nest Renew Basic will be available across the continental U.S., with Nest Renew Premium in select U.S. markets and expanding over time. For more information, visit the Nest Renew from Google website.

Nest Renew requires the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Thermostat E, or the newest Nest Thermostat connected to a Google account (sold separately). Features based on WattTime AER will be available in areas served by major continental U.S. grids. Some Nest Renew features require a Nest Renew $10/month subscription. Available in select locations.

About WattTime
WattTime is an environmental tech nonprofit that empowers all people, companies, policymakers, and countries to slash emissions and choose cleaner energy. Founded by UC Berkeley researchers, we develop data-driven tools and policies that increase environmental and social good, including Automated Emissions Reduction and emissionality. WattTime is also the convening member and cofounder of the global Climate TRACE coalition. During the energy transition from a fossil-fueled past to a zero-carbon future, WattTime ‘bends the curve’ of emissions reductions to realize deeper, faster benefits for people and the planet.