We all consume energy to power our phones and computers, keep our lights on, and heat and cool our homes. That energy has to come from somewhere, and a lot of energy in the U.S. comes from greenhouse gas-emitting sources such as coal or natural gas. Google introduced the Nest Renew program to help those with Nest Thermostats, some of the best smart thermostats available, buy cleaner or cheaper energy. What exactly is Nest Renew, how does it work, and how do you sign up for it?
What is Nest Renew?
Nest Renew is a program from Google for customers with a 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Thermostat E, or the new Nest Thermostat that is connected to a Google account. This program helps users buy cleaner or cheaper electricity by shifting their energy usage to times when the grid is cleaner or energy prices are lower using the Energy Shift feature.
Everyone can take advantage of consuming cleaner electricity, but only those with time-of-use rates from certain utilities can take advantage of the cheaper energy advantage. This program helps buy cleaner electricity but cannot help with buying cleaner natural gas or other energy sources.
A time-of-use rate is a utility rate that has different prices depending on the time of the day and time of year energy is consumed. The Nest Renew program may change your thermostat temperature when prices are higher and change it back when prices are lower. These adjustments can save you money over time through small fluctuations in your thermostat temperatures.
Shifting to more green energy is possible for anyone. Google does this by analyzing the cleanliness of the energy going into the user's home and adjusting the thermostat similarly to how the program saves money. These two benefits can work in unison for users with time-of-use rates since cleaner energy is often cheaper.
Through the program, you can earn Power Leaves that you can use to help support an Energy Impact Program. Power leaves are a participation credit you get by committing to monthly challenges and checking the portal daily to see how clean your grid is. Once you get a certain number of Power Leaves, you reach milestones where you can cash in these leaves to contribute to an Energy Impact Program.
Google has three categories of Energy Impact Programs: expanding clean energy access through GRID Alternatives, supporting clean energy careers through Dream.org, and increasing energy affordability through Elevate. These organizations are looking to further green energy. By using your earned Power Leaves, you can help contribute to these goals.
Where is Nest Renew available?
Nest Renew is a great program, but it's not available to everyone. Nest Renew is available to many compatible Nest Thermostat owners in the continental U.S. (this doesn't include Hawaii and Alaska). When you start the sign-up process, you are prompted to enter your zip code, and the form tells you if you're in an eligible zip code.
What tiers does Nest Renew offer?
Nest Renew offers two tiers to its subscription, the Nest Renew Basic tier and Nest Renew Premium. Both tiers allow you to get cleaner electricity, save money by shifting your energy usage, and earn Power Leaves to redeem on Energy Impact Programs. New Renew Premium covers the electricity you consume with Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) for $10 per month so that you can claim the electricity you consume is renewable.
A REC is equivalent to a megawatt-hour of electricity produced from a renewable energy source. RECs can be used to cover electricity purchases from the grid so that a person or entity can claim that they are buying renewable energy. Even if the physical electrons being used from the grid are not produced from a renewable energy source, money goes toward developing or maintaining a renewable energy source by buying a REC.
Most of the RECs for the Nest Renew Premium program come from the Bethel Wind Farm in Castro County, Texas, which provides RECs to Google. Any excess electricity that is not covered by those RECs comes from U.S. solar sources.
How do you sign up for Nest Renew on the web?
Signing up for Nest Renew is simple. Just make sure you have an eligible Nest Thermostat connected to your Google Account. To sign up on the web:
- Go to the .
- Click the Join Nest Renew button in the upper-right corner.
- Sign in to or select your Google Account.
- Enter your zip code and tap the Next button.
- Select your utility.2 Images
- Click the Continue with current account button.
- Select the home where your thermostat is connected.2 Images
- Confirm or edit the address associated with that home.
- Tap the Join Nest Renew button.2 Images
Now that you've enrolled in the program, you are walked through different aspects of the program. Click Next to move through the informational screens and enroll in the Energy Shift program by clicking the Turn on Energy Shift button on the appropriate screen.
If it's available in your area, you are also prompted to join the program. The Rush Hour Rewards program pays you to allow your utility to adjust your thermostat temperature a couple of degrees during times of high grid usage.
Once you've gone through all the screens and enrolled in the programs you want, tap the Done button to get going with Nest Renew.
How do you sign up for Nest Renew on the Nest app?
Some Nest users may be invited to join the Nest Renew Basic program in the Nest app.
- When you open the Nest app, an invitation screen appears.
- Select the Yes, I'm in button.
You are now enrolled in the Nest Basic program and will receive an email from Nest Renew.
What do I do on the website once I've signed up?
Now that you've signed up, what is there to do? Well, the Nest Renew website provides some features to help you monitor the cleanliness of the energy on your grid and lets you earn and redeem your Power Leafs.
When you log in for the first time each day, you earn a Power Leaf by logging in and clicking the Get today's Power Leaf button at the top of the page. Beneath that, it shows how clean your current power is, with a chart showing your energy for the day.
Keep scrolling to see the number of energy shifts that have occurred today, how close you are to your next milestone, and the challenge for the month. At the bottom of the page, you can see how you've earned your last few groups of Power Leafs.
A step toward cleaner energy
The Nest Renew program is a great step towards making your energy usage greener. You can make small adjustments to your thermostat to use greener energy and save money through the program. You can even buy Renewable Energy Credits through Nest Renew Premium to cover your electricity usage with investment into renewable energy. Nest Thermostats are controlled using Google's Home app and their overall smart home platform.