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Bang for the Buck: Smart Home Technology with the Best ROI

Bang for the Buck: Smart Home Technology with the Best ROI

 

The purpose of smart home technology is to create efficiencies, and ideally, those efficiencies should generate a substantial return on investment (ROI). However, that ROI comes in many forms, sometimes making it difficult to measure or quantify.

While some smart home tech has a linear and tangible impact on bottom lines and operating budgets, other products produce their ROI through preventive capabilities or marketable features. So, which smart home devices deliver the biggest bang for the buck?

We’ll review four smart home products with the greatest potential ROI in the multifamily space, regardless of how it is defined.

Leak and Humidity Sensors
Of all the various systems coursing through an apartment community, plumbing has the greatest potential for property damage. The source of a water leak can be tricky to locate and water is capable of carving out paths of destruction one would not expect. An undetected leak in an upper level apartment can result in tens of thousands of dollars in damage in mere minutes, leading to weeks of mitigation work and lost revenue.

Leak sensors – placed under or near washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, sinks, water heaters and sump pumps -- are the first line of defense. When a leak is detected, automatic alerts are sent out to designated personnel enabling an immediate response. With water leaks or broken water lines, every second matters. A prompt response can mean the difference between deploying a mop, or flooring and drywall removal.

Smart thermostats equipped with humidity monitors can also identify and report abnormal conditions or extreme temperature changes that may result in mold and condensation. They can also prevent warped flooring caused by prolonged exposure to moisture, and properties can set customized threshold points for alerts.

Notifications for leak or moisture detection can be monitored through a single asset protection app, providing a comprehensive view of the community. With a finger on the pulse of the property, operators can protect their ROI by avoiding the expense of extensive property repairs. The costs operators never incur can sometimes be the greatest savings.

Climate Controls
While smart thermostats absolutely have preventative benefits, their primary purpose – programmable temperature control – directly reduces energy consumption. Residents can create a climate-control schedule, programming pre-wake-up or return-from-work adjustments, while engaging energy-saving modes while away from home or out of town. The energy and cost savings are immediate.

Communities can also program automated “vacant mode” settings to activate energy savings through thermostat adjustments once a resident has moved out. The savings during turn times can be substantial. Operators can also set heating and cooling schedules for common areas and amenities like workout spaces and clubhouses, to maximize energy efficiencies after hours.

Often forgotten among smart home climate-control features are window shades. But like thermostats, shades can also be programmed to help maximize the efficiency of heating and cooling systems, or open to capture optimal natural light and radiant heat.

By dialing in climate control settings not only in homes, but across the community, properties can capture up to 15% of their total energy savings.

Access Controls
Like leak and moisture sensors, the value of access controls is in the damage and expense they prevent. Quite simply, when unauthorized individuals can’t access the property, there is a reduction in risk.

The use of smart locks, motion detection, video intercoms and unintentional opening alerts puts operators in control of their communities. Not only can they be used to control access to gates, main entries, garage doors and amenities, vacant mode settings automatically remove access codes from locks when a resident moves out.

Likewise, smart access products put residents in control of their environment. Smart home technology should allow renters to easily connect their personal Ring devices to a single mobile app that controls all smart home devices, so they don’t have to switch between apps.

Contact and motion sensors can provide real time alerts to any ongoing activity, while also creating an activity log to better track property access. Access controls not only allow renters to monitor and record activity while they’re away, but also allows them to easily create and send keyless entry credentials to friends, family and guests.

Operators can market not only the heightened sense of security afforded by access controls, but also the convenience created by the technology, to boost lead conversion and resident retention.

Lighting and Plugs
LED technology pushed the movement to conserve energy through efficient lighting, and smart lighting and plugs are taking those efforts to the next level.

Programmable lighting for common areas and offices ensure that a light isn’t accidentally left on overnight, while smart plugs eliminate the unnecessary energy drain from fixtures and appliances that aren’t in use.

Renters can program their in-home lighting for ambiance, or to match their daily schedules and maximize energy savings. Like smart thermostats, the efficiencies realized though a thoughtful approach to lighting and electrical use is immediate, and can reduce lighting consumption by 35%.

Whether it’s leak sensors, climate and access controls, or electrical efficiency products, smart home devices are an easily justifiable investment for multifamily owners. But it’s the ability to tailor smart home technology to specific property designs, climates and markets, to sync smart home devices to operate in lockstep, and to control and adjust those features from a single app that enables operators achieve a ROI even greater than the sum of the individual parts.

 

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