Nest thermostats, cameras, and other devices — as well as the associated Nest Aware services — are already a lot to take in, especially if you’re new to smart home gadgets. But you may have noticed that the company and, in particular, its thermostats, also offer another layer of services called Nest Renew. Related options are found prominently featured under the primary settings for thermostat devices in the app and on the site, after all. But what is this service and how does it impact your use of Nest products?
Fortunately, that’s exactly what this primer seeks to answer. So if those are questions you’ve been asking, this guide should be able to help.
What is Nest Renew?
Nest Renew is a program on offer from Google and its smart home division but is quite separate from its automation services. It’s available for sign-up, but it’s not enabled by default and not available everywhere. For the time being, it’s limited to the US and for all intents and purposes requires an invite or for users to join a waitlist. And that’s primarily because it’s currently available in “Early Preview.”
Setting that aside, the service is intended to help users who want to go even more green than the thermostats already allow for. Nest thermostats are already focused on being more efficient, to begin with. Whether that’s novel ways of distributing air so that an HVAC system runs less. Or via settings that keep energy usage down.
For instance, the thermostats come with an Eco Mode, but also with other settings. Such as Auto-Schedule, Early-On, Cool to Dry, Airwave, and others. The app also shows a “Leaf” in the UI on each setting. And that indicates when that setting for the system is set up properly for efficiency.
Renew takes that further still, offering options that impact the real-world consequences of consuming energy for an HVAC or thermostat-based system. At its most basic, it informs users of how their energy is being used and offers a means to help environmentally-focused non-profits. But it also brings quite a bit more to the table in terms of impact.
Does Nest Renew cost anything to use or access?
Nest Renew is entirely free, as of this writing. Or, at least that’s the case for the “Basic” version of the service. And, as noted above, it can be useful to have, even if you aren’t paying for it.
For starters, the program is set up to let you know when the energy your home is using isn’t “clean” and when it is. But it also lets you optimize your usage with another feature called “Energy Shift.”
Energy Shift lets you set your system up to prioritize clean energy or a less expensive energy source. That can save you money and help you have a positive impact with regard to environmental concerns.
Additionally, the program allows you access to gamified savings. Namely, via monthly challenges with regard to your energy usage and tips to help you conserve energy. Those tips and the savings help you earn “Renew Leafs.” And those Renew Leafs, once earned, help users earn rewards.
The rewards are geared toward helping the environment, of course. So they primarily center around voting on which non-profits receive funding via Nest Renew and the Energy Impact Program.
What about the “Premium” option?
Taking your account Premium does, conversely, cost money. But, at a price of $10 per month, it also brings additional features.
To begin with, it brings Clean Energy Match to the table. Premium subscribers are able to support clean energy growth via the purchase of renewable energy credits from US-based wind and solar operations. In effect, matching the estimated fossil fuel use from your home with clean energy from those sources.
Users will also receive an easy-to-read monthly bill that includes their Nest Renew Premium fee and other utility charges. The fee for the Premium tier service is included on an easy-to-read monthly bill alongside other utility charges.
Where is Nest Renew available?
Now there are some regions in which you simply can’t use Nest Renew, as of this writing. It will work for nearly all users in the US, for instance, but it is presently limited to that region of the world.
If you happen to live in Hawaii or Alaska for instance, Renew Premium won’t work for you. And neither will the Basic option, for that matter. In California, the 90704 and 93042 zip codes can’t access the feature just yet either.
Maine is the only other state listed by Google as not being Nest Aware-ready. While several zip codes in the state support Nest Renew features, a significant number of areas don’t. In total, 34 of the 424 zip codes in Maine don’t have access to Nest Renew features. Thes zip codes 04013, 04635, 04730, 04732, 04734, 04735, 04736, 04738,04740, 04742, 04745, 04746, 04750, 04751, and 04756. But 04757, 04758, 04760, 04761, 04762, 04763, 04766, 04769, 04772, 04773, 04775, 04779, 04780, 04783, 04785, 04786, 04787, 04851, and 04852 zip codes aren’t supported yet.
You’ll also need a device that can support the features found in the program. Namely, those are the more recent iterations of the Nest Thermostat. So that’s the version of Nest Thermostat that’s on sale now. As well as the third-generation Nest Learning Thermostat or Nest Thermostat E.
That thermostat will, finally, need to be connected to a Google account. And that will need to be the same account that’s synced up to the Renew program.
Should you use this tool?
For the time being, at the very least, Nest Renew Basic is completely free to use. While it won’t necessarily save you a lot of money, it can save some. Simply by virtue of ensuring that your Nest thermostat is helping to balance efficiency and comfort.
Equally importantly, improved efficiency is going to be better for the environment in so far as reducing your overall footprint. And the footprint of your home.
So using the Basic variant, since it’s already included, is probably something you should do. That is unless, of course, you live in a region where neither that nor the Premium variant are available.
Nest Renew Premium, conversely, is a bit more nuanced in terms of whether you should be using it. If you live in the regions listed above, buying into the program simply isn’t worth it because the features aren’t readily available. Or if you happen to have any other personal reasons not to use it.
Ultimately, whether or not you sign up for Nest Renew Premium or utilize the free Basic features is up to you. If you’re looking to utilize more environmentally friendly energy and help fund related programs, Nest Renew is a great program to take part in. If that’s not really something you want to take part in, that’s an extra $10 per month you don’t need to spend.
How can you sign up?
Signing up for Nest Renew is a straightforward affair, whether you’d like to use the Premium or Basic version. That is, as long as you meet the requisites. And as long as you don’t mind that it currently isn’t available outside of its Early Preview.
Start by opening up the Nest application on your mobile device or visiting the Nest website used to manage cameras. Then open settings — typically housed behind a gear or cog-shaped icon. In Settings, you’ll need to scroll, as needed, to select “Nest Renew” from the list. Once selected, the option to set up the program for your thermostat will be available. The app or website will walk you through the waitlist and/or sign-up process.