Nest Advantages and Disadvantages
Despite all of Nest’s features, Nest has some hurdles to overcome. As of early 2014, Nest costs $249 per thermostat. That’s more than twice, and in some cases five times, the cost of programmable thermostats from established brands Honeywell & Filtrete. Non-programmable thermostats are even cheaper, with some models costing less than $20. so because of this, Nest’s only customers are likely to be people with moderate to high incomes or who place a high value on either its design or its energy-saving features.
Beyond the cost gap, Nest also faces a sea of consumers who know very little about how their HVAC systems work. Though marketing materials for the Nest describe functions of these systems in easy-to-understand language, it may still prove difficult to sell the product directly to the consumer. It’s possible that Nest’s target audience will eventually shift to HVAC professionals and building contractors instead of home and business owners.
In early 2012, Honeywell, the biggest brand in thermostats in the U.S., threw down yet another gauntlet for Nest Labs. On Feb. 6, 2012, Honeywell filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Nest Labs citing seven Honeywell patents. Two days later, Nest Labs accepted the challenge. In its statement, Nest Labs said, “Nest will vigorously defend itself against Honeywell’s patent-attack strategy to stifle thoughtful competition, and we have the resources, support and conviction to do so.” That case is on hold as of early 2014, but another company, Allure Energy, brought a patent infringement suit on May 14, 2013. Time will tell how these legal battles will play out.
Taking Your Nest With You
Most of us don’t think about our thermostats as portable units, but they are. Because Nest Learning Thermostats are compatible with many HVAC systems, you can take them with you wherever you happen to live. In fact, if you’re renting your residence or business site, you can install Nests temporarily in place of the thermostats that came with the space, then reinstall the other thermostats and take your Nests with you when you leave. To avoid any trouble, though, get approval from your landlord before you install any Nests.