The Internet of Things is rapidly transforming homes around the world, connecting them through technology and opening the door for artificial intelligence to enhance everyday functions like security and climate control. Modern homes now boast features like smart lighting, heating and air conditioning units that can be controlled remotely via smartphone or tablet. The smart home market surpassed $84 billion in revenue in 2021, and it’s expected to reach almost $139 billion by 2026.
“IoT continues to develop rapidly while many residential IoT applications are commonplace, such as smart thermostats, smart doorbells, smart cameras, etc. and there is an increased demand in HVAC and IoT in commercial real estate applications,” Motili’s Marketing Director, Kirill Kniazev, said in a roundtable discussion with HVACInformed.com’s Larry Anderson. “One such idea is remote monitoring using HVAC systems in combination with smart thermostats and indoor air quality products to remotely monitor several variables in tenant-occupied spaces. Another application is managing energy efficiency of HVAC units by monitoring unit condition and preventing breakdowns before they happen, thus increasing operational and energy efficiency (as well as resident satisfaction, in multi-family communities).”
While some consumers might still think smart homes are the only options for those purchasing newly constructed properties or replacement HVAC systems, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The added convenience, comfort and energy efficiency offered by the Internet of Things and smart home devices are available for all sorts of properties, and many smart home features can be added with simple and cost-effective upgrades.
Some of the most popular smart home devices and upgrades that boost HVAC and energy efficiencies include:
Smart Air Quality Monitors
Smart IAQ monitors work in conjunction with air purifiers to improve a building’s air quality. In a major study of almost 50,000 buildings, more than 96% of the homes tested positive for at least one primary IAQ problem, ranging from mold and bacteria to carbon dioxide and chemical pollutants. Smart IAQ monitors report an array of pollutants and air quality issues, sometimes on mobile devices. Awair’s smart air quality monitor lets users communicate with their air. The small device analyzes the indoor air to report issues, but it also learns occupants’ routines and can communicate with other home devices.
It’s estimated about 10 percent of all electricity usage in the United States is dedicated to cooling the interior of residential and commercial buildings… and yet most people would still choose to drop the temperature a few extra degrees on a hot summer day. Smart air conditioners use artificial intelligence and machine learning to understand what factors impact occupants. The HVAC devices can build custom comfort profiles to deliver the most optimal temperature settings, but a smart AC isn’t within the reach of everyone just yet and probably won’t be for some time. Ambi Climate is an add-on for air conditioners that adds the power of AI to existing equipment, improving comfort and saving energy.
Smart Air Purifiers
Heightened focus has been placed on our indoor air quality since the start of the global pandemic, driving demand for air purifiers. Plenty of studies support the idea that IAQ has a direct impact on occupants’ health and well-being. While most everyday air purifiers probably won’t remove every virus from the air, they can help reduce other pollutants and allergens like dust, smoke and pollen. Smart air purifiers like Mila not only clean the air, but also feature companion apps, alerting users when it’s time to replace their filters and allowing them to remotely control their devices.
Smart homes aren’t just about letting AI control the functions of our residential and commercial properties. Consumers employ smart home technology to bolster their own control of their indoor environments. With a smart thermostat, property owners can either take on added control of their HVAC systems, or can sit back and let the AI learn their routines. Smart thermostats like the Sensi Touch smart thermostat let users design their own temperature schedules, remotely control multiple thermostats and even receive alerts to their mobile devices when temperature and humidity levels change.
Smart Vent Systems
How much energy might the average home save by heating and cooling certain areas more than others? Smart vents help property owners and occupants better manage their entire HVAC systems and set ideal temperatures for every room in a building. Smart vent options like Flair’s smart vent are relatively inexpensive options to create room-to-room climate control. Users can customize their HVAC usage based on usage, time of day or even just the preference of the person in the room.
Often, new HVAC models generate data on the system’s operation so users can monitor their energy usage and climate control efficiencies. Motili customers gain access to a proprietary HVAC indexing system that can predict equipment failure. The MACI, also known as the Mobile Asset condition Index, examines data from HVAC systems in single-family, multi-family and commercial properties across the United States. It then focuses on data indicators such as a system’s age, condition, energy efficiency and refrigerant type to assign properties a score that helps owners and operators keep building systems running smooth and boost tenant satisfaction.