The SenseME app and the Next Learning Thermostat. Photo by Forest Giant

The SenseME app and the Next Learning Thermostat. Photo by Forest Giant

If you’re even remotely interested in Louisville’s economy and workforce, the topic at the front of your mind these days is probably the Electrolux acquisition of GE Appliance. No different on Tuesday when I stopped in on Forest Giant to talk about their partnership with Lexington’s Big Ass Solutions (formerly Big Ass Fans). CEO Dave Durand dropped a little knowledge bomb that I hadn’t even considered:

Electrolux is acquiring an iconic brand, all this real estate and machinery for $3.3 billion. Google acquired Nest for $3.2 billion.

Mind blown.

Now Forest Giant and Big Ass Solutions are working with Nest. The Forest Giant/Big Ass Solutions partnership isn’t new news. They’ve been working together for around three years. Forest Giant created BAFWorks for the company, an iPad dashboard that allows industrial users to control and schedule their Big Ass Fans, ventilation systems and lighting from a single device.

But Big Ass Solutions has recently made the foray into consumer products with the Haiku smart fan and brought Forest Giant on board to design the fan’s interactive iPhone app, SenseME. According to the Haiku description online: “Designed with an onboard computer and array of sensors, this fan makes decisions to keep you comfortable – automatically. SenseME monitors environmental conditions, senses occupancy and learns user preferences to make adjustments.”

When Nest announced they were opening their API, it just made sense to let the Haiku and Nest Learning Thermostat “talk” to each other.

Ashleigh Chape, interactive developer at Forest Giant, stepped in to give me a tour of the app and how it works. Sliders in the app control the speed of the near-silent fan. As you raise the speed, the Nest interface tells users how much they could save on their energy bills if they adjusted their AC temperature setting.

SenseME knows when you enter or leave a room and can turn the fan on and off accordingly. It monitors the rooms humidity as well as temperature and adjusts itself accordingly. And because of its Nest connectivity, it “learns” your preferences.

So, SenseME and the Haiku fan can help you save money on your energy bills, but the fan itself costs a pretty penny. The MSRP on a bare bones Haiku fan (without the LED lights and fancy finish) is around $1,045.

Both Big Ass Solutions and Nest are founding members of the Thread Group, a nonprofit standards group focused on the Internet of Things, specifically Internet connected home devices. “Thread is an IP-based wireless networking protocol that addresses the need for a new and better way to connect products in the home,” according to the group’s website.

“Our integration with Nest is all about creating more energy-efficient smart homes, and that ought to be a priority for this country,” Carey Smith, founder and “Chief Big Ass of Big Ass Solutions,” said in a news release. “Our Haiku with SenseME ceiling fan and the Nest Thermostat make it easy for you to save energy — and look good doing it.”