The summertime cooling needs of a commercial facility can often take a big bite out of the monthly budget. A simple and very effective way to ease this areas of financial stress is to install a smart thermostat. Here are five ways that you can use a smart thermostat to save money on your cooling costs.
Smart Thermostats Versus Traditional Thermostats
Smart thermostats, also known as programmable thermostats, are sophisticated electronic devices that give you a high level of control over the operation of your HVAC system. In comparison with traditional thermostats, smart thermostats provide features and settings that are precise enough to save significant amounts of energy and money.
Older mercury-switch manual thermostats served as little more than on and off switches for your heating and cooling systems. No matter how much heating or cooling was needed, they would turn on the HVAC system when the indoor temperature fell below the thermostat's setting. The HVAC equipment would then run on a single level that consumed large amounts of fuel or electricity. When the temperature setting at the thermostat was reached, the HVAC system would shut down until the thermostat again detected changes in indoor temperatures and restarted the cycle.
A smart thermostat also works to turn your heating and cooling systems off and on in response to indoor temperature changes. However, it also allows you to better control when the HVAC equipment runs, how long it runs, and at what level it operates. The result is significant savings — often several hundred dollars a year.
Five Ways a Smart Thermostat Saves Money
- Set points: Set points are preprogrammed — but adjustable — temperature settings that precisely control the operation of your cooling system. You can use these set points to turn the HVAC system down when it's not needed, such as when your business is closed for the day. The set point control can then automatically turn your cooling system on before you open the next day, ensuring that indoor temperatures are comfortable when business resumes.
- Distance control: Many programmable thermostats can be controlled remotely via smartphone or online apps. This allows you to take a more direct role in responding to temperature changes in your facility. You may, for example, want to leave your cooling system off for a longer period of time. With remote apps, you can do this easily. If you have multiple thermostats in different buildings, remote apps let you control them all from one location.
- Better monitoring of energy usage: Smart thermostats can provide you with a detailed report on the amount of energy that's actually being used to keep your indoor spaces cooled or heated. This information gives you insight into how much energy (and money) is being consumed by your HVAC system. You can then more easily make adjustments to create more efficient heating and cooling and to reduce areas of waste or overuse.
- Thermostat "learning" and response: Smart thermostats are programmed to "learn" your usage needs and respond accordingly. If you establish a pattern of heating or cooling operation over a certain number of days, the thermostat will respond and automatically adjust the HVAC system according to those patterns.
- "Hold" features: The hold feature on a programmable thermostat lets you set the temperature to stay at a certain level over several days. These features are commonly used over weekends when commercial facilities are closed. They can also be adapted to other longer-term needs, such as when a business is closed for a three-day weekend, a lengthy Christmas holiday, or a period of time during which repairs or renovations are being made.