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Schneider Follows Nest’s Smart Thermostat Lead

Schneider energy manageGiven all the coverage about Google’s purchase of Nest Labs, a maker of smart thermostats for residential use, it was only a matter of time before energy management vendors in the commercial space capitalized on the buzz.

Now, Schneider Electric is offering a thermostat and programmable room controller targeted to enterprises – the new SE8000 Series. Schneider touts the customizable and “elegantly designed” look of the controllers, targeted for different environments and decors, including offices, retail stores, schools and hotels.  The new room controllers also allow commercial building owners and tenants to reinforce their brand by displaying any logo, image, or dynamic scheduled message on their screen.

The room controllers are equipped with advanced application-specific control technology, alarm monitoring, optional humidity and occupancy controls, multi-language support, a touch screen interface, and an optional occupancy sensor. The room controllers can scale across a facility to optimize the energy use of HVAC systems, integrating with most existing HVAC and building management systems and are simple to install and commission, says Schneider.

The controllers come with wired and wireless communication options.

Some comments on Energy Manager Today’s LinkedIn page note that Nest-like HVAC controls and software already exist in the commercial industrial space.  Yet, most energy management systems come with a web-based dashboard rather than a smart thermostat, which seems to have captured the public’s attention.

Mike Gordon, CEO of Joule Assets said his company analyzed Nest Labs’ business model and found that its thermostats were being sold for more than double their cost. In addition, Nest retains the right to create valuable partnerships based on its thermostats. “Nest was not giving up any of the market value those thermostats create,” said Gordon. “It’s a pretty aggressive model.”

Just last week, ComEd announced it was partnering with Nest to offer up to $140 in rebates for Illinois residential customers who purchase a Nest Learning Thermostat and participate in ComEd’s demand response program.

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