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You could win one of the smartest thermostats in the world

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Learning thermostat makes saving energy a breeze, in summer or winter

In the heat of summer, we don't always think about managing our thermostats to help control our energy use and costs. Unless you use air conditioning, you're likely to see some positive changes on your consumption, as we use less heat and light in the summer months.

It's not time to say goodbye to summer yet, but it's never too early to start thinking about what you'll do when the days do get cooler again and have you reaching for the thermostat. Thankfully, this month, Team Power Smart members have the chance to win a thermostat that will pretty much do the thinking for you — the sleek Nest learning thermostat.

Nest learns your schedule, can be controlled from your phone

Many of us know by now the benefits of a programmable thermostat. Managing your thermostat effectively by turning the heat down at night and when you're away can help cut down on heating costs. In fact, if you program your thermostat to set back the temperature by five degrees for eight hours of every night, you will save approximately 10 per cent on your heating bill.

Programmable thermostats have always offered "set it and forget it" convenience; you can program a thermostat to come on when you arrive home from work and to turn down at night, without the need to manually adjust the temperature (which many of us forget to do).

But Nest takes it one step further. Rather than the one-schedule-fits-all option offered by many programmable thermostats, the Nest learning thermostat does just that — it learns your schedule over time to optimize heating and cooling precisely to your needs. You won't need to program a schedule or fiddle with temperatures. As the Nest website explains, "change the temperature a few days in a row and Nest will catch on, but one-off adjustments won't confuse it," giving you the flexibility to make changes if you're on a different schedule unexpectedly.

Another feature that Nest offers is the ability to make changes when you're away from home, through your smartphone, tablet or laptop using Wi-Fi.

Coming home earlier than planned? You can tell Nest to turn the heat on earlier, or if you make last minute plans and won't be home for awhile, you can save energy by ensuring the thermostat won't kick in when it was originally scheduled to.

Instant feedback lets you know when you're saving energy

Most BC Hydro customers and Team Power Smart members can see their hourly electricity consumption thanks to the energy tracking tools offered in MyHydro. With Nest, you can also see when your thermostat is saving you energy. A leaf icon appears on the thermostat every time you're saving energy, plus a monthly energy report will show you how your heating system is performing month over month.

With the reports, you'll be able to see exactly when Nest was on or off, helping you to find ways to save or make adjustments to your schedule.

Along with managing your thermostat, you can save energy by tracking your electricity consumption and identifying when you use the most energy, to find the Power Smart tips that work for your needs.

Win a Nest thermostat of your own, find other ways to save

This month, Team Power Smart and our contest partners at The Home Depot are giving away Nest learning thermostats to two lucky Team Power Smart members. To enter to win one of them, check out all the contest details.

Not a member of Team Power Smart yet? It's easy to join.

Interested in purchasing the Nest thermostat for yourself? Learn more on the Nest website and at The Home Depot.

If the Nest isn't for you, you can still save by using a programmable thermostat or managing your existing thermostat effectively. Turning the heat down by just two degrees can reduce your home heating costs by 5 per cent. And reducing your heat while you're away doesn't mean that you'll be shivering for hours when you get back. Your home will hold most of its heat all day while you are out. You can turn the heat down when you go out, then up again when you return and it will quickly return to the temperature that it was when you left.

Learn more about managing your thermostat effectively.