Over a year of research and design went into the 2018 Dealer Design Awards gold-winning product in the Residential Controls category. After listening to feedback from both contractors and consumers for a more basic, easy-to-use, and cost-effective thermostat, Nest created the Nest Thermostat E.

“Nest keeps thinking from a consumer perspective — they do such a good job of this,” said one of the contractor judges. “I really like the simplicity of this sensor and the ability to program it. This is a great option for a problem room with high or specific use and for helping a tech solve a problem.”

According to the company, the Nest Thermostat E and Nest Temperature Sensor provide a smart home heating and cooling system complete with room-specific temperature sensing.

“The feedback we received from pros was to make it [Nest Thermostat E] easy and more reliable than what they have used from other companies,” said Gene LaNois, head of professional channel, Google. “The risk of callbacks can kill a contractor’s business, so we know that the product needs to be reliable enough to send with them into the field.”

The product offers personalized comfort control; customized scheduling through the Nest app, which allows customers to tell their thermostat which sensor to use during different times of day; and fast and simple installation.

The Nest Thermostat E has push pin wiring, a built-in level, and automatic wire sensing. The Nest Temperature Sensor is battery powered (lithium ion) and wireless.

LaNois said the thermostat’s capability to learn is what really sets it apart in the marketplace.

“If you teach Nest thermostats for a few days, they learn and get better: your home will learn how to react to weather, your schedule, etc.,” he said. “Our objective with the Nest Thermostat E is to offer all the great values of a Nest Thermostat at a more affordable price point. The Nest Thermostat E is proven to save energy with features like Auto-Schedule, Eco Temps, Heat Pump Balance, and Airwave.”

When ARS/Rescue Rooter rolled out a partnership with Nest last year, ARS’ service centers migrated the Nest Learning Thermostats into their standard components. ARS of Illinois was an early adopter, putting the Nest Learning Thermostat on all of its ‘better’ and ‘best’ systems. The Nest Thermostat E became the company’s standard thermostat into all entry level and ‘good’ combinations after it debuted in August.

“We love the Nest E and the entire Nest family of products because they are universally recognized and accepted,” said Scott Toomey, general manager, ARS of Illinois, Itasca, Illinois.

“It’s also one of the Energy Star-rated thermostats. My team and I can sit down with a homeowner and talk about the fact that this thermostat is going to make the most basic, entry-level system significantly more efficient. It’s going to give the customers the ability to control their system from a wireless, handheld device. Technology is changing, people do more and more on their smartphones and tablets, and this gives the customer the ability to do that.”

Offering Nest products has given ARS of Illinois a unique selling proposition.

“On all gas fired furnace installations, we include the thermostat, Nest Protect Smoke and CO detector, along with a Google Home Mini,” Toomey said.

According to Google, Nest is always looking at ways to expand its energy offerings, though it has no current plans to further innovate the Nest Thermostat E at this time.


The Lennox iComfort E30 Universal Smart Thermostat won silver in this category. Lennox spent eight years researching this product.

“At the time, we had quite a lot of dealers and consumers saying they loved the S30, but they could only pair it with certain systems,” said Blake Edwards, senior product marketing manager, controls, Lennox Intl. Inc. “Our dealers had homeowners who wanted to put it on different systems but could not because it was only designed to work with our communicating equipment. So we took the feedback to our engineers and product management team, and that’s pretty much how it came to be.”

The thermostat is designed with a 7-inch HD color capacitive touchscreen that is easy to view and navigate. The HD display also provides a seven-day weather and air quality forecast and will display screen savers that will mimic the outdoor weather conditions for the user. It is designed with a magnetic mount lock option that allows for convenient access to the wiring for installation and service needs.

“One of the main things that sets it apart is the iComfort Dealer Dashboard via the Lennox Pros website,” Edwards said. “The dealer can login remotely through our dashboard and have every bit of control of the thermostat without having to be in the home. They also get alerts and reminders if there is an issue with the system or when maintenance is due.

“So, it’s not just the thermostat on the wall,” Edwards continued. “It’s the platform that supports the homeowners and dealers and gives them the highest level of insight into a system’s operation and performance.”


Taking bronze is the 6-Zone Universal Zone Control Panel with ESP from iO HVAC Controls. The ZP6-ESP is a six-zone, forced-air zone control panel that can be used with heat/cool, heat pump, and dual-fuel systems. Most importantly, it eliminates the need for a bypass damper in zoning applications. The number of zones can be expanded using three-zone expansion panels for up to 12 individual zones. The primary function of the panel is to provide individual temperature control for each zone in the system, using conventional equipment compatible with programmable or non-programmable thermostats in conjunction with three-wire (power open, power close) motorized dampers located in the supply ducts serving each zone.

“It’s a second iteration to an existing six-zone panel that we’ve been manufacturing for decades,” said Jim Dufault, national sales manager, iO HVAC Controls. “About a year and a half ago, we wanted to bring electronic static pressure (ESP) control into our zoning. We wanted to further extend a way to basically do away with bypass. Our whole company focus is to ensure contractors have products that are easy to use and understand, that actually work.”

Publication date: 7/23/2018

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