The senior housing industry has been reinvented by smart technology, allowing property managers to reduce energy costs while improving resident experience. Indeed, energy consumption is about more than just keeping the proverbial lights on. It’s also required for providing everything from basic services and amenities to specialized care and infrastructure.

Of all those amenities, however, none is more essential to the daily comfort of residents than climate control. It’s no wonder, then, that senior living managers are investing in smart thermostats (and other HVAC) technologies to reduce their operating costs without compromising on comfort. 

Of course, different types of properties require different types of thermostats. Specifically, while consumer-grade smart thermostats are perfectly suitable for single family units, larger communal properties, such as senior living facilities, require commercial-grade smart thermostats that can manage multiple units as well as common areas. 

What is a Smart Thermostat?

A smart thermostat is a type of thermostat that is programmable, is sometimes networked connected to occupancy sensors, and automatically adjusts heating and cooling temperature settings around actual energy needs. And unlike traditional thermostats, smart thermostats can manage and adjust a property’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning  (HVAC) systems remotely. 

Of course, not all smart thermostats are created equal. Particularly, senior living communities require a commercial-grade smart thermostat solution rather than consumer-grade thermostats (such as those offered by Nest and Ecobee). 

Commercial grade smart thermostats, moreover, offer a range of features to provide senior living operators more control over their energy consumption, including occupancy sensors, night occupancy mode, flexible setbacks, advanced humidity control, and energy savings reports. Put simply, smart thermostats are low-cost infrastructure upgrades that  reduce energy consumption and significantly lower energy costs. 

Essential Smart Thermostat Features for your Senior Residence

Just as not all smart thermostats are created equal, different models offer different features, but some features are more essential than others. In other words, some thermostats are smarter than others, and knowing which features are essential to a thermostat’s IQ will help ensure that you invest in the right smart thermostat system for your senior living facility.

1. Programmable Settings 

Whether heating or cooling, climate control is an essential amenity for keeping senior residents comfortable and healthy . However, it also represents a significant portion of a senior living community’s energy consumption and overhead costs. Fortunately, smart thermostats offer senior living operators to optimize energy consumption without compromising residents’ experience. 

Essentially, smart thermostats are programmable around peak occupancy times, and respond to real-time fluctuations in occupancy patterns. They also allow senior residence managers  to simultaneously control and monitor temperatures across many units.

It’s also important to take into consideration the needs of seniors who live in memory care as opposed to independent living. The right smart thermostat allows operators to create different profiles based on the level of senior care and preferences.

2. Occupancy Sensors

Smart thermostats, of course, are programmable around occupancy patterns, but it’s occupancy sensors that allow them to respond to real-time fluctuations in a room’s actual occupancy. Verdant’s occupancy sensors, moreover, integrate seamlessly not only with our smart thermostats, but also demand many third-party lighting systems, reducing energy consumption on multiple fronts whenever a space is unoccupied.

Our occupancy sensors also collect and relay a variety of data (i.e. peak demand loads, historical thermodynamics, local weather conditions, etc.). This data is then analyzed and used to continuously optimize energy efficiency based on real-time changes in tenant occupancy patterns. 

3. Air Quality Management

Poor indoor air quality can lead to a range of health issues, particularly among older adults in senior residences. Fortunately, smart thermostats come equipped with sensors that are designed to monitor air quality in real time. These intelligent devices can be used to identify pollutants, ranging from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to carbon dioxide and particulate matter. And when connected with compatible HVAC systems, smart thermostats can even help air purifiers and filters remove pollutants from the air. 

4. Remote Access

Smart technologies have also changed the way assisted living communities are managed. Indeed, smart thermostats come outfitted with remote management features, giving operators the ability to adjust temperatures in real time via smartphone apps, voice-activated assistants, and other devices. 

Essentially, assisted living operators can adjust temperatures and manage energy consumption from anywhere, ensuring that climate control systems are operating at peak efficiency at all times. These remote management features also include diagnostic alerts when smart thermostats are not performing within expected parameters, allowing staff to identify maintenance issues before they lead to any critical system failure.

5. Machine Learning Capabilities

When it comes to optimizing energy consumption via smart thermostats, remote access capabilities are just the beginning. Smart thermostats collect invaluable data on peak demand loads, historical thermodynamics, and local weather patterns.

Those data sets are then analyzed by sophisticated machine learning algorithms to optimize energy consumption throughout the year in real time. In other words, smart thermostats not only provide senior residence operators with the insights they need to reduce energy costs, but also the tools to automate the entire process. 

6. Analytics Reporting 

When managing any business, data trumps opinion, and energy management is no different. Verdant’s smart thermostats and Verdant Plus not only adapt to real time fluctuations in occupancy and thermodynamics, but also report on energy consumption trends over time. 

These reports are then used to offer personalized recommendations and energy-saving tips based on real data rather than guesswork. This allows property managers to make strategic decisions about their infrastructure and operations, reducing costs over time and improving profitability. 

The Benefits of Smart Thermostats in Senior Residences

Of course, the benefits of installing a smart thermostat system in a senior living facility extend well beyond reducing energy consumption. And the whole of those benefits is much greater than the sum of its parts. 

1. Significant Cost-Savings

Smart thermostats play an essential role in senior residences by achieving notable cost savings on energy bills. They learn residents’ preferences and automatically adjust heating and cooling based on when spaces are occupied. This translates to a decrease in energy waste and HVAC runtime, leading to lower utility costs.

2. Enhanced Comfort and Wellbeing

Smart thermostats also help senior residence operators improve resident comfort and experience. On the one hand, residents can customize their settings in their private units around their personal occupancy patterns. On the other hand, temperature settings in common areas can be managed based on real time fluctuations in occupancy and historical thermodynamics.

3. Ease of Use and Accessibility 

Because smart thermostats are, well, smart, they’re also easy to use and accessible for both operators and residents alike. Operators can remotely access system settings and reports, adjusting system parameters to meet without compromising resident comfort. And residents easily access and customize temperature settings in their private units.

4. Health and Safety Considerations

Smart thermostats are not just convenient for controlling temperature; they also have the ability to enhance air quality. In fact, smart thermostats can detect various pollutants, including volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter, providing crucial insights and real-time alerts. 

According to the World Health Organization, 4.3 million people who die annually from exposure to household air pollutants. Fortunately, smart thermostats can integrate with air filtration systems, identifying and filtering potential pollutants from the air in both private units and common areas.

5. Reduced Carbon Footprint

Finally, smart thermostats help senior residence operators reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their own carbon footprint. And this not only helps create a more sustainable senior living residence, but also supports property managers in reaching their ESG targets. In turn, those operators can then use that to both attract new investors and/or access strategic financing options that can reduce their operational costs.

Why Choose Verdant’s Smart Thermostats?

From energy costs savings to resident safety and comfort, smart thermostats offer senior living facilities so many benefits. But just as not all smart thermostats are alike, not all senior residences have the same climate control needs.

It’s important that senior living property managers choose a smart thermostat solution the fits their specific needs. Verdant’s VX and ZX smart thermostats offer an unmatched range of features that facilitate energy management for senior living operators. Settings are customizable to suit the unique needs and preferences for each level of senior care, whether they live independently, in assisted living, or in memory care.

Verdant’s smart thermostats also integrate seamlessly with other third party systems (such as smart lighting) helping property managers automate and optimize so much more than just their energy costs.

Book A Web Demo Now!

Fill out the form below to schedule a web demonstration of the Verdant Energy Management System.

Thank you. A Verdant rep will be in touch shortly.