Pimp your abode with these home improvement products.
By PopSci Staff
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Nest Learning Thermostat
A thermostat has tremendous power: It controls heating and cooling, the most expensive, energy-guzzling system in a house. Until the Nest, thermostats wielded that power blindly. The Nest learns a household’s schedule and preferences after just one week and programs itself (and if those preferences change, the Nest adapts accordingly). It uses activity, humidity, and temperature sensors to monitor the indoor climate and adjust it for maximum efficiency.
The Nest can also shut down the air conditioner’s compressor a few minutes early to make the most of the cool air still available after it cycles off. The homeowner can always adjust the device from home or the road, but will rarely need to—which makes this the first thermostat truly compatible with people’s lives.
Power: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery Compatibility: 95% of 24-volt systems Price: $249
The Switch75 is the most convincing proof that LED technology can replace the traditional lightbulb. The LED bulb provides the same warm light as a 75-watt incandescent while consuming 75 percent less energy—and it can be used with dimmers and in recessed fixtures. The secret to its efficiency is a liquid-silicone cooling system that transfers heat across the entire bulb’s surface. The Switch75 is only available to commercial users now, but the company will release a consumer bulb by the end of the year. $40–$60