Speeding the Energy Transition

Aaron Berndt of Google Nest on Speeding Adoption of Smart Thermostats | #74

Smart thermostats help us achieve a more flexible and resilient grid. And yet, only 10% to 20% of US households use a Nest or similar device to automate energy savings.

What can we do to speed the adoption of smart thermostats? How can companies like Google partner with utilities, inspiring residential customers to take action on energy efficiency?

Aaron Berndt is the Head of Industry Partnerships at Google, where he has served on the energy efficiency team for six years. Prior to Google, Aaron spent another six years at Pacific Gas and Electric, acquiring a deep knowledge of how demand-side management programs work.

On this episode of Clean Power Hour, Aaron joins Tim to share his definition of a smart thermostat and discuss the energy efficiency targets Google believes the Nest ecosystem can achieve.

Aaron explains what it means for an investor-owned utility to partner with Google, describing how a utility marketplace makes it much easier for consumers to participate in IOU demand response programs.

Listen in for Aaron’s insight on how DR aggregators work to automate demand response (with the consumer’s blessing) and learn what we can do to increase the number of residential energy efficiency incentive programs and accelerate the adoption of smart thermostats like Nest.

Key Takeaways

The energy efficiency targets Google believes the Nest ecosystem can achieve
How Google is overcoming the challenge of getting residential customers to take action on energy efficiency
How Aaron defines a smart thermostat in terms of its ability to automate energy savings
What it means for an investor-owned utility (IOU) to partner with Google
How a utility marketplace simplifies the process of participating in demand response programs
How DR aggregators work to automate demand response (with the consumer’s blessing)
The statistics around smart thermostat adoption in the US
Why we’re seeing an exponential increase in the number of residential demand response programs
The relative importance of residential vs. commercial and industrial participation in demand response programs
What we can do to accelerate the adoption of smart thermostats like Nest