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text 2015-02-10 10:05
The Haney Energy Saving Group: Nest thermostat saves energy, says research

Nest Labs has recently announced the results of 3 energy-savings research which apparently prove that their Learning Thermostat can save users as much as 15% on cooling bills and 12% on heating bills. That's roughly USD150 in savings annually and a return of investment in just 2 years.

The two studies were apparently designed and funded independently -- one of them was done by a utility company in Indiana called Vectren and the other one by Energy Trust of Oregon. The third one was done by the Nest company itself on a national scale. They all monitored users' energy consumption before and after the installation of Nest Thermostat.

According to the general manager Ben Bixby, "With this information in hand, customers can feel even more confident about investing in a Nest Thermostat, and our energy partners can be assured that energy-efficiency programs involving Nest will have an impact."

Nest's thermostat is supposed to 'learn' as it is being used; for instance, it can remember certain temperatures that the user usually sets, sense how long it takes to cool or heat up a room then adapt accordingly. It's also designed to detect if the user is home so it can automatically turn itself off if not, as The Haney Energy Saving Group found out.

Nest's founder Matt Rogers said in his post, "Nest is constantly improving. Some saved less on their energy bills, some saved more ... that affected their energy bills more than switching thermostats ever could. But on average, after people installed Nest they saw real savings." In fact, in the last couple of years, Nest developers have updated the system over 30 times to add new features.

The Haney Energy Saving Group reported that Nest users will be given additional support starting this month: an access to a live Energy Advisor that they can consult about energy savings using their Nest Thermostat based on their particular circumstance.

Various thermostat makers, along with the Environmental Protection Agency of the US, have previously claimed that a programmable thermostat can potentially save homeowners around 20% on cooling/heating bills. However, most of their calculations were simply based on correctly-programmed thermostat settings as opposed to a thermostat that's left at one temperature constantly. Because of such difficulty in acquiring actual savings data, programmable thermostats lost the Energy Star rating in 2009. Now, with three studies actually determining how much energy savings thermostats are capable of when programmed well, they might just get it back.

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text 2014-05-10 02:46
Energy Saving - The Haney Group Conservation Awareness

Overall energy usage in the city grew at a slower pace than the average economic growth in the 10 years to 2013, new data shows.


And from 2012 to last year, consumption of electricity alone fell 1.1 per cent.


One green group welcomed the official figures as a sign that the city was getting serious about saving energy. The statistics reflected public awareness of reducing energy consumption, Edwin Lau Che-fung, head of advocacy and education at Friends of the Earth, said.


"The slight drop is in a positive direction," he said. "It reflects a power-smart attitude among consumers and businesses."


The city recorded an overall energy balance last year of 300,284 terajoules, down from 322,938 terajoules in 2008, the Census and Statistics Department said in its annual report.


During that period, imports of electricity from the mainland decreased 5.2 per cent.


The energy balance is the sum of energy input - mostly imports of coal, oil and electricity - minus output, when these resources get transformed into energy.


Electricity generation made up the bulk of the balance, while the rest came from gas.


Commercial users remained the top guzzler of electricity last year, consuming 66 per cent of energy used. Households came second, despite falling three percentage points to 26 per cent. Industrial users consumed 7.3 per cent of electricity.


Overall energy usage rose 2.5 per cent from 2003 to 2013. Over the same period real GDP grew at an average of 4.5 per cent a year.


Environment officials have floated a pair of options on the future of Hong Kong's energy mix. One proposal involves drawing a third of the city's electricity from the mainland power grid.


Under fuel-mix proposals for 2023, mainland company China Southern Power Grid may export up to 15 billion kilowatt-hours a year to Hong Kong - an option that Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing claims can help the city outperform its targets of cutting carbon emissions.


Higher electricity bills are in store no matter which option is chosen, Wong has warned.


Lau, a former member of the government's advisory council on the environment, said tougher energy and carbon reduction targets should be imposed on the city's two power suppliers.


"The government should also explain more about the two fuel-mix options," he said. "We need to know how much more electricity prices will go up and why.”

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