So there we were, the four of us, all in a little semicircular knot, gazing intently yet respectfully at this little disc of the wall. Patrick the builder; Dave the electrician; Peter the heating guy and me, we all stood there, willing this sexy, high tech piece of kit to connect to the wifi and do its magic.
It took a while to link to its partner on the other side of the wall that will form the partition between our new kitchen and our new living room. The first time I tried to enter my password, I made a mistake and it carried on regardless, in an infinite loop of pairing, destined never to complete. We turned it off and on again and Patrick worked out how I could re-enter my password and off we went on another seemingly interminable odyssey of waiting, watching, hoping.
And then: yes! There it was, paired and ready for action. Together with its partner on the other wall, the two Nest thermostats will control the newly-installed underfloor heating in the new build and ensure that never again will my feet freeze in winter. My habitually naked flesh will commune with the nuanced curves and undulating imperfections of the natural slate beneath them and I’ll know that I will have saved yet another pair of sheepskin slippers from their inevitable, grisly fate between the jaws of my flatcoated retriever.
Dave opined, “It’s not the technology that does the magic, it’s the humans,” which I considered a pretty profound thought, while Peter bemoaned the prospect of his final years before retirement being spent not in firing up boilers for a Ta-Da! moment of truth at the end of each day, but rather in waiting for software updates to kick in on the controllers. We all agreed, however, that the thermostats are a pretty sexy piece of kit to grace our living space.
So much so that when Mark the other heating guy returns from holiday to sort out the mess of our upstairs heating system left in sabotaged chaos by Tom Philips Builders and signed off by Inside Out Architecture (You say you didn’t? So sue me,) we shall be clamouring for more Nest thermostats to control the underfloor upstairs. They light up when you pass them or approach, for goodness’ sake!
Apart from being tactile and hi-tech and gorgeous, we are hoping that the Nest system will provide a more efficient use of energy in heating our home. You install the thermostats and give them your details, create an account on the internet, download the app on your phone if you like and you can control them remotely. Today I was walking the boys on the local farm in Chislehurst and, just for lolz, I turned the kitchen heating down to 17.5C. BECAUSE I COULD! I could be in India, say and schedule the heating to turn itself up a bit just as my flight lands at Gatwick.
The Nest system works out a schedule of heating based on your usage requirements, the outside temperature in its locality and the inside temperature and humidity, all of which it displays in one of its sexy screens. And it does this all by itself, thinking about it for a a few days to make sure it gets it right.
If you turn the heating up, the screen will glow orange as it heats to the required temperature; if you turn it down to a level where you’re saving energy an ecologically-conscious green leaf will appear join the display to make you feel as smug as if you were outside hugging a tree. And it lights up as I pass or approach! It’s so jazz!