by IvyLee Rosario
Besides their well-established function of making operations more cost-effective, energy-efficiency products are gaining a reputation as a marketing tool for attracting residents and investors. This roundup of the latest technology surveys the variety of innovative items available to the multifamily sector, ranging from home automation systems to LED lights and energy-saving windows. The solutions can be incorporated into both new projects and communities that are striving for sustainability.
Kinestral: Halio glass windows
Capable of reducing energy use by as much as 40 percent, this smart-tint glass controls the amount of light that enters a room. A coating laminated onto the existing glass blocks as much as 99.9 percent of visible light when dimmed, while allowing for 70 percent light transmission. Halio begins tinting within 15 seconds and takes less than three minutes to get to the darkest shade. Windows can be tinted individually or in blocks. An electrical charge used during tinting or clearing triggers a chemical reaction to change the amount of light admitted. The glass tint is available in standard sizes as large as 5 feet tall and 10 feet wide.
ChargePoint: EV charging station
The stations enable property managers and owners to manage consumption and expand charging capabilities without making expensive upgrades. Reporting and analytics track energy use, environmental impact and revenue, continuous support for property management and homeowner association administrators, station monitoring and on-site maintenance. Available models include stations for personal or community use, with single- or dual-port options and a choice of 18-foot or 23-foot cord lengths to match a property’s configuration.
EarthTronics: Mini panel LEDs
These mini panel LEDs can be used either as a new light source or for retrofitting an existing fixture. In hallways, the lights can be attached to the canister and function as a surface mount instead of recessed lighting, which distributes light more efficiently. The 5.5- and 7-inch installations can be used to retrofit 4- and 6-inch downlight recessed fixtures with easy-to-install clips that provide a new look. For unit interiors, the LEDs can serve as new lighting points with canisters, with or without a junction box. The 3000K to 4000K 90+ CRI high-color rendering yields brighter, truer colors and makes differentiation easier.
Vivint: Element thermostat
The Vivint Element thermostat provides temperature control and energy savings by integrating information from door, window and motion sensors. The data is the basis of a continuous status report on the unit—home, away, asleep or in vacation mode—and the system adjusts the temperature accordingly. The device cuts monthly heating and cooling costs by an estimated 10 to 15 percent for unoccupied units, according to the supplier, and provides a comfortable setting when someone is home.
H2O Degree: Wireless pulse counters
The two-channel wireless pulse counters monitor tenant billing, leak detection and utility conservation. Utilizing a 32-bit cumulative counter for each channel, the units track and record dry-contact pulses from meters and submeters. Data is reported through a battery-powered wireless radio compatible with H2O Degree’s wireless 2.4 GHz mesh network. The pulse counter is connected, initiating the radio transmission, and within a few seconds LEDs light up confirming the system is working.
Parakeet: Smart-home products
Parakeet’s products are designed to provide owners and managers with the opportunity to offer residents a smart-home experience as an amenity. Residents can control lights, locks and thermostats remotely via a mobile app. Parakeet’s software also facilitates management of smart thermostats by means of a single dashboard, which enables property managers to remotely control heat and air conditioning in vacant units. Many utilities offer rebates that offset the cost of the thermostat. In master-metered buildings, Parakeet’s software also enables managers to track consumption by individual units and determine which residents are using the most energy.
Originally appearing in the October 2017 issue of MHN.