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The beautiful fall leaves have vanished for most of the country, a sure sign that winter is fast approaching. Unfortunately, with it comes an increase in energy usage and higher costs. For property managers responsible for hundreds or even thousands of properties, small savings in energy per property can have a major impact on the bottom line. Here are some smart things that property managers are doing to save energy this winter.

Automate for Occupancy

Why heat an unoccupied property? With a smart thermostat and the right software, like those from PointCentral, you can have the temperature automatically set to an energy-saving level when guests or residents depart. This can also help when staff or vendors have been in a property and forgot to turn the heat down before they left. For short-term rentals, the system is even smart enough to preheat a property to a comfortable setting prior to the arrival of guests. This saves energy and increases guest satisfaction.

Automate for Schedules

Automated thermostat schedules are also very useful for occupied properties, providing guests and residents with the ability to automatically set temperatures for day and night as well as work hours when away. ENERGY STAR® has certified PointCentral thermostats as saving up to 16% when heating and 23% when cooling.

HVAC Analytics Save Big

In addition to automated schedules, smart thermostats from PointCentral are able to monitor the health and performance of HVAC systems using advanced artificial “machine learning” intelligence. By collecting data from thousands of HVAC systems and analyzing it using advanced algorithms, the system “learns” what to look for regarding HVAC performance. The more data collected, the smarter the system becomes and the better it is able to “predict” problems.

The system provides a detailed view of how the actual temperature is tracking with the set point of the thermostat. When the temperature is not tracking to the set point, or the HVAC is running too long to get to the set point, then this might indicate a problem and an automatic notification is sent to the property manager. Performing preventive maintenance rather than waiting for HVAC failure will reduce costs and extend the life of the system.

Doors and Windows Closed?

Just a small window or door opening can force the heat to stay on for days or even weeks in vacant properties. With the right sensors installed, you can be automatically notified when a door or window is left open and take care of it before energy costs spike. This saves energy and your HVAC system.

Water Can Drain Your Budget

One of the worst things that can happen in winter is frozen pipes. There are two solutions for this. One, use smart thermostats to make sure the temperature in vacant properties doesn’t go below the minimum threshold. Two, use water sensors to automatically notify you if water is detected. This could happen in the spring, or sooner if the power goes off for an extended period and comes back on. Rather than send staff to check each property, you can be confident that your properties are safe from the high costs associated with water damage.

Smart home property automation can do wonders when it comes to reducing energy costs in the winter. When combined with basic energy-saving efforts like having proper insulation, weather stripping on doors, and LED lighting, your energy costs this winter will fall, just like the leaves.