Why your smart home thermostat isn’t a great fit for your business

It seems like a good idea.  You have a smart thermostat in your home that helps you save energy, manage your heating and cooling, and even sets itself to optimize your energy usage.  So it should be great in your business too, right?

Unfortunately, this is not the case.  Your smart home thermostat is optimized for your home, which means that while it’s great for managing your family’s heating and cooling, those same features can backfire when integrated in to your business environment.  And, your smart home thermostat that provides so much automation and convenience can really fall short on functionality when you install it in an office setting.

What are the issues with installing smart home thermostats at work?

  1. They’re time-consuming to manage from your phone one-at-a-time.  Chances are you have multiple thermostats at work.   Even the smallest retail area generally have two thermostats, and larger spaces may have 3-10, or even more thermostats.  When you start to bring in multiple smart home thermostats, you really quickly realize how challenging it is to manage them all separately.   The software to control these devices is intended for  1-2 thermostats, as you’d find in the average residential home.  When you have 10 or more thermostats, you need software to manage them that allows for grouping, so that you can apply schedules or overrides to many thermostats at the same time.
  2. You need to be able to lock them – flexibly.  Most smart home thermostats allow for a PIN code to be set that prevents other people from changing the temperature.  This works well at home where your family schedules are relatively consistent, and a limited number of people can complain about the temperature at any point in time.  However, in the business environment any number of events could come up – from an inventory count overnight to a development team staying late.When a change in the schedule occurs, you want to give building occupants some ability to deviate from the thermostat schedule for a set duration without calling you at home to request a PIN code for each of the thermostats.
  3. They need to be compatible with your facility HVAC system.  The standards for heating and air conditioning equipment are quite different between home and office.    While many homes within the same general region are similar, units in commercial businesses vary widely based on the type of facility, when it was built, or the specific choices of building owners.   Using a thermostat that isn’t fully compatible with your facility HVAC can limit the functionality of your systems or its ability to respond to thermostat changes, which isn’t ideal at all!
  4. You need to manage as many as you need to manage.  Many smart home thermostats have maximum numbers of thermostats that can be managed on a single account.  While that allows you to manage your home, your vacation place (lucky you!), and your rental property, it may not permit you the ability to manage your 10 thermostats per site in each of your 10 business sites.  You don’t control the number of thermostats you have in your facilities – so what you really need is a smart solution that doesn’t limited your thermostat count.

So smart thermostats for home aren’t perfect for your business – that’s ok.  There are systems out there that allow you to combine the convenience of a smart thermostat with the power of applications tailored for your business needs.    

Want to hear more about our smart thermostats for business?  Check out Zen HQ.

Adam Paul