Although there have been many exciting innovations in the past year to point out, the one that sticks in my mind is the size of an apple. The Nest Thermostat is a learning thermostat, that is to say it learns what temperature you like, when you like it and when you're away from home. Although programmable thermostats have been around for decades, they have been hard to use and often left untouched.
The Nest promises an alternative and intuitive way to program your thermostat by simply being smart enough to program itself. Designed by iPod designer and former Apple executive Tony Fadell, the Nest looks like something straight out of Apple's product catalogue. At $250 it is not for everyone, but certainly not out of reach. Plus it is so beautiful, many will want to hang it on their wall as a work of art. But the real reason it is such an innovation is that it marks the first truly commercially available offering for your "smart" home of the 21st Century.
In this interconnected, always-on, energy-conscious world, the Nest represents the type of innovations we really need: a radical redesign of something previously ignored.
Eric Corey Freed, LEED AP, Hon. FIGP, is founding principal of organicARCHITECT, a nationally known award-winning architecture and consulting firm in California, with nearly 20 years of experience in green building and sustainable planning. Eric is a renowned speaker and author of four books on sustainable design.