A few simple, cost-effective investments can help improve heating efficiency, while keeping expenses under control.

Heating Efficiently With New Technology Advances

The Workplace Today Technology & Innovation

Heating efficiently can help you control expenses, especially in the winter. Here’s some new technology that works to make this task easier year-round.

Finding a way to control expenses is something organizations of all sizes should consider, especially if they hope to remain competitive in today’s operating environment. Heating efficiently for those in the Northern states — just like cooling sufficiently for Southern-based businesses — often registers as a considerable expense. In fact, commercial buildings account for 19 percent of the energy consumed in the United States, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Being able to keep HVAC costs to a minimum can help any organization remain competitive. Of course, few business leaders can afford to dedicate significant amounts of time to reducing HVAC expenses. Thankfully, today’s technology provides a new layer of management and, as a result, efficiency.

Smart Technology

Unpredictable weather will always add some variables to the mix, but the latest generation of thermostats possess artificial intelligence, allowing them to learn user heating and cooling preferences in order to make automatic adjustments as conditions dictate. In addition, smart thermostats also offer remote access, meaning management has the ability to monitor energy usage, as well as make needed adjustments from anywhere, using any device. For instance, some products can utilize system sensors to notify owners or maintenance personnel when it’s necessary to change filters or initiate a system service call that’s preventative in nature, often eliminating the need for a costly repair.

Smart thermostats increase efficiency by leveraging the various components of the existing system, including the best use of the furnace’s fan, as well as leveraging logarithms that determine how soon heating needs to begin to ensure a comfortable temperature before workers arrive. These same system management capabilities can help reduce energy consumption.

The benefit of embracing a learning thermostat is that it’s relatively inexpensive to purchase — usually around a $250 investment — and rarely requires any changes or additions to the actual HVAC system. In addition, many energy providers offer incentives that vary by region. In some instances, energy providers will completely reimburse the purchase price either as a rebate or an energy usage credit.

Next Steps

Understandably, the learning thermostats and smart vents are only part of a much larger puzzle. When blending a learning thermostat or smart vent with other Internet of Things (IoT) devices, it’s possible to inexpensively enable HVAC equipment to automatically ensure the efficiencies that go beyond what systems are capable of accomplishing on their own. For instance, when enabling the sensors already attached to most systems to leverage an available internet connection, local service providers can receive automated alerts whenever the heating system’s efficiency levels fall outside an acceptable range. In some instances, this may mean replacing an aging part before a failure occurs, or simply making adjustments to better utilize existing equipment, like cleaning HVAC coils or replacing a worn belt before it breaks.

According to an ACEEE study, a key part of what makes this IoT integration intriguing is that it utilizes big data analysis to make further recommendations to improve HVAC operations. At this point, the only significant challenge in taking this next step to heating efficiently is that not all service providers have embraced the latest technology. Some service providers may lack the equipment necessary to receive or respond to automated system alerts. Fortunately, most providers are already comfortable using the information provided by these sensors to help determine furnace issues.

The best news is that HVAC technology and the associated tools only continue to improve — and the rapid growth of the IoT network will constantly multiply the business’s ability to maximize its efficiency. Be sure to stay in the loop and embrace tools as they make sense for your business.

Peter Fretty
Peter Fretty

As a highly experienced freelance journalist, Peter Fretty has written thousands of feature articles and cover stories for an assortment of trade journals, business publications and consumer magazines. With a B.A. in Business Management and an M.B.A. in Marketing and Communications, Fretty spent roughly fifteen years working in various capacities in the aerospace, automotive and telecommunications industries. Fretty has since worked with over forty publications as well as co-authored a book with Dr. Shelton Rhodes which focuses on government contracting.