Memphis, Tenn.-based American Residential Services (ARS), a privately-held national provider of air conditioning, heating and plumbing services, announced a partnership with Nest Labs to include the Nest Learning Thermostat as a standard component of most of its middle- and upper-tier residential HVAC system installations.
ARS also will offer professional installation of Nest thermostats as an optional upgrade when performing service and preventative maintenance in previously installed systems.
“The benefits that a smart and connected home offers are very compelling,” said Luis Orbegoso, president and chief operating officer of ARS. “We are delighted to be recognized as a Nest Pro Elite partner across our network of more than 70 service centers," he said.
The Nest Thermostat learns the temperatures a homeowner prefers and then programs itself. Nest’s algorithms allow customers to monitor their energy history daily, in addition to receiving an easy-to-understand monthly report. It also will alert homeowners in the event it detects certain problems with the home’s HVAC system. Independent studies have shown that the Nest Thermostat saves homeowners on average 10 to 12 percent on heating and 15 percent on cooling costs.
“While Nest products are designed so that homeowners can choose to install themselves, Nest wants to make it easy for those who’d prefer to take advantage of the benefits of a pro installation,” said Gene LaNois, who heads Nest’s Professional Channel. “ARS shares our passion for enabling the thoughtful home, and we’re excited that they will be incorporating the Nest Thermostat into their installation offerings.”
The Nest Thermostat and other Nest products are available at all 70 ARS Network branches that provide HVAC services and installations.
In an exclusive interview with Contracting Business, Chris Mellon, CMO and senior vice president at ARS, said the agreement followed a period of discussion between two organizations that realized they shared a common goal.
"We have had a long-standing conversation going with Nest, for obvious reasons; ARS being one of the largest providers of HVAC services in the country, and Nest had been focused on the consumer side of the business and self-installations, driving the business through retail," Mellon explains. "Since then, they've seen the opportunity to go after the 'do it for me' market, those people who don't want to install their own thermostats. They looked to us because we are one of the largest [service providers] in the country, with world class customer service, and standards for how we go to market and work with our customers. They saw this as an opportunity, and we did as well."
The agreement does offer a significant opportunity to ARS, in that consumer interest in 'smart' or 'connected' homes is growing.
"We believe it is an emerging market that we want to stay out in front of as best we can," Mellon said, "and partnering with Nest is a tremendous opportunity for us to do so, simply because they’re on the cutting edge of not only the Nest thermostat, and the many millions of homes they’ve had those installed into; but also, all of the other products that they have released: the camera, the Nest Protect, and other products they have on the horizon."
Since Nest is owned by Google, the agreement also gives ARS service centers access to the Google Assistant, which is the home speaker system managed by voice commands. Those will be integrated into the product as well.
"The long-range vision is that you can use the Google Assistant to manage the thermostat, cameras, Nest Protect, and other devices that will be integrated into that product," Mellon explained.
ARS will provide the Nest thermostat as standard with its 'Better' and 'Best' product configurations. Customers can receive the Nest product in the 'Good' configuration, but at an additional cost.
Additionally, Mellon said, all ARS locations have been assigned a “Nest Pro Elite” status, which Mellon says will position ARS as one of the first choices to complete the installation by consumers who purchased the thermostat at a retail location. Nest Pro Elites also receive special training from Nest.
Mellon said the agreement has caused excitement among ARS service centers. The 'connected home' concept is gaining ground, and many consumers want and need help in figuring it out.
"I’ve been talking to general managers and service managers in the field, and there’s a lot of excitement around the products themselves, and our pursuit of the ‘connected home’ space," he said. "A lot of technicians are very aware of the excitement around that, and the consumers are much more receptive to the idea that these devices can make their homes smarter and more efficient and will save energy. These are things consumers are looking for. Our field has seen the vision of where this can go, and the opportunity that they have to impact consumers’ lives in a positive way.”
Having an ARS professional install the thermostat offers a significant warranty benefit.
“We are installing the PRO version of the thermostat, which extends the warranty from two years to five years," Mellon said.