Energy efficiency is about as sexy as a pile of granite. Put it this way, one easy way to save fuel is to drive slower. Not exactly live fast, die young territory.
However, in recent years, people in Silicon Valley have taken an interest in an area dominated by construction workers and mom-and-pop energy evangelists. And Apple being dominant these days, many are eager to preach from the gospel of Steve.
It's this confluence of trends that led to the creation of the Nest "learning thermostat." The thermostat is the brainchild of some ex-Apple employees including Tony Fadell who was senior VP of the iPod division. The pitch is simple: the Nest is a hot-looking gadget that should pay for itself in a few years by saving you money on your energy bills. Armed with six sensors, the Nest can tell if you're not home and turn down the heat. It's also got Wi-Fi built in, so it's connected to the Internet and you can change your settings via an iPhone app. And it plugs right into your existing thermostat controls. (The company says that if you install the device yourself, it should only take 20 minutes.)