Google’s Nest Renew program can now help US customers prioritize clean energy use

It works by monitoring forecasts from the energy grid.

Google Nest

Google introduced an initiative called Nest Renew last year to help you use more clean energy for your home if you have one of the brand's thermostats. Back then, only those who got an invite to preview the solution could join the program. Starting today, however, you can join Nest Renew for free, so long as you're in the continental US and have a third-gen Nest Learning Thermostat, the latest base Nest Thermostat model or a low-cost Nest Thermostat E.

The program comes with a feature called Energy Shift that can automatically activate cooling or heating when there's a higher concentration of electricity from clean sources by adjusting your thermostat accordingly. Power grids typically obtain energy from both fossil fuel and renewable sources, and the mixture isn't always 50:50. Energy Shift works by gathering power grid forecasts from across the US every five minutes and then using its algorithms to determine the best times for when to run cooling and heating for your home. For instance, it can run cooling earlier in the day when the grid is getting power from more renewable sources and before emissions from electricity use are expected to rise.

Google said the feature was designed to make changes so subtle that you won't even notice them. When the program launched, Nest product manager Jeff Gleeson told Engadget that "customers are always in control." You can manually adjust your thermostat even after Energy Shift kicks in. The tech giant also said in its announcement that Energy Shift helped users prioritize cleaner energy usage for over 20,000,000 hours in all during the preview period.

While you can join the program for free, you can also choose to pay $10 a month for Nest Renew Premium if you want to match the fossil fuel electricity used in your home with renewable energy credits generated clean energy project from Google's portfolio.