What is an IoT Thermostat

According to a recent report by Energy Star, commercial buildings waste 30 percent of the total energy consumed countrywide. This is equal to spending an extra $600 million every year. IoT-based thermostats can be a very effective approach to help building owners eliminate this waste and save their money.

This guide serves as a detailed overview of IoT thermostats and the reason they are highly beneficial for the commercial sector.

Introduction

To understand what an “IoT thermostat” is, let’s first split the term into two parts. IoT is an acronym for “Internet of Things,” 一 a concept of connecting devices to the internet so that they can be reliable for humans. On a very high level, IoT is viewed as a suite of technologies that makes equipment capable of sensing, communicating, interacting, and collaborating effectively.

Likewise, thermostats (also called temperature controls) refer to the components that sense the temperature of different building systems and modify their settings to achieve desired setpoints. Thermostats have been in the market for around four centuries, and there’s been a host of improvements in them so far.

Here’s a quick run-down of the types of thermostats and their average costs:

TypeAverage Cost
Manual$15 – $40
Non-Programmable$20 – $50
Programmable$20 – $150
Wi-Fi Enabled$100 – $350
IoT Enabled$150 – $500

Manual thermostats are cheap in comparison to other thermostats, but they are less energy-efficient and offer a very limited set of scheduling options. In contrast, IoT thermostats allow you to control and automate the temperature of your dwelling from anywhere using a smartphone.

The distinction can be understood by the fact that while conventional thermostats revolve around a building’s components, contemporary thermostats revolve around its occupants – that’s you!

How IoT Thermostats Make Commercial Buildings Smart

An IoT thermostat is the newest generation of smart thermostats. It analyzes building components and automatically adjusts their settings to ensure the occupants enjoy improved Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).

Let’s get some terminology straight: the primary function of thermostats is to raise and lower the temperature setpoints. If a building’s HVAC system doesn’t work up to par, it breaks down or begins to malfunction; there can be a negative impact on the occupants’ comfort. Not only that, it can have a knock-on effect on staff productivity and annual business revenue as well. IoT thermostats are highly beneficial in this regard. They leverage several self-learning algorithms to adapt the heating and cooling patterns of a building and modify them remotely to ensure that the IAQ is well-maintained.

The Cost of Installing an IoT Thermostat

It usually takes about $600 if you hire a professional to get the work done. However, you can bring this cost down by up to 40% if you do it yourself, but this is never recommended.

Why? Because commercial HVAC systems are larger and more complex than residential systems. They require a higher level of expertise, and thus only experienced HVAC technicians should service them. 

The reason why the investment is worthwhile is the long-term cost-effectiveness of IoT thermostats. They allow you to better comply with ASHRAE Standard 55, which specifies acceptable thermal conditions for human occupancy. Buildings that meet this criterion save more on their utility bills and become eligible for Energy Star certification.

The Bottomline

Upgrading to an IoT thermostat is pricey, but the resultant savings are big enough to offset the initial upfront costs.

Benefits of IoT Thermostats

The advantages of installing an IoT thermostat are not just limited to the ease of temperature control. There are a million more reasons to convince owners that installing an IoT thermostat in their property would be their wisest decision. The most favored benefits of installing an IoT-enabled HVAC thermostat in commercial establishments include:

24/7 Equipment Monitoring

An IoT thermostat analyzes your HVAC system’s performance round the clock. It sifts through the system, obtaining real-time information about all input and output parameters that contribute to your Indoor Air Quality. Every new second, the thermostat extracts millions and billions of data points to learn their patterns and automatically schedules itself to ensure optimized temperature control.

Peak Shaving

A building’s HVAC system is the prime culprit of its high energy consumption. Smart thermostats aren’t just good for the environment; they can also help you reduce your energy costs by up to 50 percent. When you install an IoT thermostat in your building, it estimates your peak and off-peak energy usage. Since electricity prices are higher during peak time (reportedly due to the heavy strain on the power grid), it saves energy during the off-peak time and utilizes it when your demand spikes. Hence, you can put more money in your pocket by simply making efficient use of energy.

Energy Profile

IoT thermostats leverage smart technologies to evaluate your building’s energy performance in comparison to your peers and suggest low-to-no-cost Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) that can be implemented immediately to improve it over time. You can anytime assess your energy use profile to:

  • Retrieve historical information about your energy performance
  • Determine how your building is performing
  • Identify building systems to target for improvement

Increased Occupancy Comfort

The indoor environment of a building varies based on the behavior of its occupants. For example, while some occupants prefer cooler temperatures, others prefer warmer. Setting up a controlled environment is highly essential to be sure that every building occupant enjoys ideal comfort. An IoT thermostat looks into your building’s historical energy use to determine optimal HVAC settings and programs itself dynamically so that the occupants’ comfort doesn’t degrade.

Bottom line Growth

Well-performing heating and cooling components are a great way to significantly lower the amount of money you pay in energy costs. An IoT thermostat allows you to adjust your building’s HVAC settings from anywhere around the world using a smart device. Thus, you can keep more money in your pocket and ultimately increase your bottom line.

Staff Productivity

A research report by Cornell University highlights that office performance improves by a massive 44% as the indoor environment approaches a predicted thermal comfort zone. Unlike conventional HVAC systems that need too much effort to ensure technical care, IoT thermostats feature smart algorithms to learn and adapt to different situations autonomously and effectively. This generates real productivity gains as operating staff can use their saved time on other important tasks.

Predictive Maintenance

An IoT thermostat continually interacts with a large amount of data contributing to your building temperature. As soon as it comes across a piece of equipment about to break or in need of a quick tune-up, it generates alerts so that the issue can be treated before the air quality becomes uncomfortable.

Sick Building Syndrome Prevention

According to a research report by ScienceDirect, Sick Building Syndrome or SBS is a situation when building occupants experience adverse health conditions as a result of inadequate ventilation and contamination. IoT thermostats improve IAQ and decrease the risk of environmental pollution, thanks to their ability to control HVAC system settings continually.

Property owners that aim to reduce their energy costs, ensuring maximum tenant comfort need to discard their old temperature controllers ASAP. IoT-enabled thermostats are highly energy-efficient devices that can be installed in all new and existing infrastructures. The upfront costs of these thermostats may be high as discussed, but their operation and maintenance costs are quite low, and they have a long service life.

If you’re looking to make your building smarter, get in touch with us to learn how we can help you smarten up your building with our state-of-the-art technology.

References

  • Environmental Protection Agency. ENERGY STAR. (2010, May). C+I Brochure. Retrieved February 8, 2021, from https://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/publications/pubdocs/C+I_brochure.pdf
  • Wikipedia. Thermostat. Retrieved February 8, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermostat
  • Techstreet. ASHRAE Bookstore. (2017). ASHRAE 55-2017. Retrieved February 8, 2021, from https://www.techstreet.com/ashrae/standards/ashrae-55-2017?product_id=1994974
  • Cornell University. Linking Environmental Linking Environmental Conditions to Productivity. Retrieved February 8, 2021, from http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/Conferences/EECE_IEQ%20and%20Productivity_ABBR.pdf
  • ScienceDirect. Encyclopedia of Environmental Health (Second Edition). (2019). Sick Building Syndrome. Retrieved February 8, 2021, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/sick-building-syndrome