Smart Thermostats in Rental Housing Units: Perspectives from Landlords and Tenants

Diba Malekpour Koupaei, Kristen Cetin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Rental properties make up approximately 37% of the US residential building stock and are responsible for 23% of the total energy consumption in this sector. Although this market has great potential for energy efficiency, the implementation of energy savings measures in this market faces numerous challenges. In particular, one of the main challenges cited is the split incentive, limiting the potential motivation of rental property owners and tenants to invest in energy-efficient technologies. Smart thermostats have gained substantial interest and adoption in the past decade and have been the subject of numerous studies. However, their adoption and use in the context of the rental housing market has not been considered. In this study, reviews posted on an online retailer's website (Amazon) were used as an unstructured source of information to evaluate the attitudes of landlords and tenants toward smart thermostats. In total, 31,790 reviews were collected for 14 commercially available smart thermostats; from these, 173 reviews were identified as directly associated with rental units. These selected reviews were then analyzed and categorized based on the unique opportunities and challenges that were expressed. The majority of reviewers focused on usability aspects and expressed an interest in the advanced remote-control functions of their purchased devices. Furthermore, our findings indicated that occupancy pattern learning capabilities were not of particular interest among this user group. These findings can inform product manufacturers and policy makers in their future interactions with stakeholders in the rental housing market and potentially increase adoption and hence energy efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04021042
JournalJournal of Architectural Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Society of Civil Engineers.


  • Home energy management
  • Rental properties
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Smart home technology
  • Smart thermostats


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