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Smart thermostats were one of the earliest pieces of smart technology commonly adopted in households. Although hints of smart home tech had been on the scene as early as 2001 with the first autonomous vacuum cleaner, 2011 marked the launch of the first internet-based smart home device, a smart home thermostat.  

Today, smart thermostats integrate with your complete smart home system to give you access to control and monitor the temperatures in vacation rentals, multi-family rentals, single-family rentals, corporate housing, and other properties where you want to reduce costs and improve energy efficiency across the property. 

How Do Smart Thermostats Work? 

Smart thermostats, just like regular thermostats, are hardwired into your home heating and cooling systems but also connect to the building Wi-Fi or other communications gateway, such as a mesh network. At PointCentral, our smart technology components use a cellular communications gateway through Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. That means the technology does not rely on residents’ bandwidth or on a dedicated Wi-Fi connection to operate.  

You can operate the thermostat locally by hand, the same way you would any other thermostat, or via cloud-based software from any internet-enabled device or via the app on mobile devices. Many smart home thermostats enable you to do the following: 

  • Program “scenes” or schedules so the temperature automatically adjusts based on time of day 
  • Automatically adjust temperature when a home or unit is vacant or residents are on vacation
  • Adjust and monitor temperature remotely from any internet-enabled device
  • Set temperature ranges not to be exceeded 
  • Receive alerts if there is an issue with the HVAC systems or furnace

Most importantly, smart thermostats “learn” the habits of the people in a home and can begin to automatically adjust settings based on the residents’ schedules, the weather, the number of people in the space and other factors. 

Key Benefits of Smart Thermostats

The U.S. Department of Energy has found that 42% of a home’s energy costs go to heating and cooling. If you can reduce these costs as a commercial property manager, you can increase your net operating income (NOI), a significant factor in a property’s profitability and success. Depending on your property’s size, the habits of residents and the region, you can save between 10% and 23% on heating and cooling costs with a smart thermostat — even without making other more expensive changes, such as upgrading the HVAC systems, updating windows or improving the insulation. 

As a property manager, installing smart thermostats also adds convenience. You can remotely adjust temperatures on vacant units, and even set the home to a comfortable temperature before a showing. You want your property to feel warm — or cool — and welcoming to prospective tenants, but you don’t need to keep the AC or heat running as if people are in the unit when it’s empty. 

Finally, smart thermostats can alert you to issues with your systems, which can save time, money and headaches because you can schedule a service call and fix problems quickly. 

Improve Your Building’s Energy Efficiency with Smart Thermostats

While many consumers and property managers are interested in smart thermostats because they save money, an energy efficient building may also attract a better quality of tenants who are environmentally conscious. 

Today’s renters often look for buildings with sustainable designs and smart home features — not just for the convenience of the technology, but also to reduce their family’s carbon footprint. You may even be able to charge more for units with smart home technology. According to one study, more than 75% of renters said they would pay more rent for a unit with smart home technology, including smart thermostats. More than half said they would accept a rent increase of $20 or more per month. 

How Do Smart Thermostats Save Property Managers Money? 

The energy savings, combined with the option to charge more for units with smart home technology, make smart thermostats a wise investment for property managers. Plus, you may save money on costly emergency repairs, thanks to remote system monitoring. 

Smart thermostats may save you money in other ways, too. Check with your local electricity provider about rebates and incentives for installing smart thermostats in your units. Also check with your tax accountant to determine if you may qualify for federal or state tax credits. All of these factors, together, can tally up to substantial cost savings from your investment. 

Are Smart Thermostats Secure? 

Whenever the topic of smart home tech comes up, people worry about the security of the devices. Most smart thermostats that live on the network are secured via the home Wi-Fi password, and may also be secured at the street level by the internet provider. 

PointCentral’s technology takes it a step further, however. Because our devices do not live on the building’s network, would-be hackers do not have a gateway to any internet-connected devices via the smart thermostat.  

How Can You Protect Smart Thermostats from Hacking? 

As with any connected technology, you should protect your smart thermostats with a secure password that can’t be guessed by people or software. PointCentral provides property managers with one cloud-based dashboard and login feature to manage all the devices on your properties, making security management easy. 

Should You Install Smart Thermostats on Your Property? 

Cost savings, convenience, and the ability to charge higher rents for properties with smart home technology make installing a smart thermostat in your rental units practically a no-brainer. Tenants will love the convenience of this state-of-the-art technology, and you can maintain control of the HVAC systems in every unit, wherever you might be. 

Whether you’re showing a unit for rent or renovating a property for new tenants, you can reduce energy costs and keep the property comfortable for anyone on-site — all from any internet-enabled device. Reach out to and find out how to make smart thermostats part of an integrated smart home solution on your property. 

Dawn Allcot has more than two decades of experience as a writer in the commercial audiovisual and smart home technology industries. Her work has been published by the Home Technology Association, Sound & Communications, and many others.  

Sources – The Definitive History of Smart Home Devices – How Do Smart Thermostats Work? – Best Energy Efficient Products 2021 – Breaking Down the Typical Utility Bill – Is a Smart Thermostat a Worthwhile Investment for Your Home?

Cision PR Newswire – Study: Apartment Renters Prefer Smart Home Amenities Over Pools