There are a number of steps to follow for the best smart building ROI.


Key takeaways

  • Smart building ROI is the return on investment that smart building upgrades grant you.
  • ButterflyMX offers the best smart building products and services in the form of an access control system.
  • The best ways to achieve a smart building ROI are to improve energy efficiency, appeal to tenants and residents, automate your building, maximize your available space, and perform preventative maintenance.


The definition of a smart building is a property that utilizes the IoT (internet of things) to improve and automate operations in your building. But what’s the smart building ROI for such expensive investments?

In this post, we’ll go over what smart building ROI is and the best smart technology that you can invest in. Next, we’ll review a few ways for you to achieve a positive ROI in your smart building. Finally, we’ll offer some insight into the future of ROI for smart buildings.

In this post:


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What is smart building ROI?

Smart building ROI is the return on investment you receive after investing in smart building technologies. Keep in mind that it’s not the ROI for your entire property but rather the direct savings and earnings you receive as a result of specific smart technology that you have installed.


Property technology as smart building ROI

One of the best ways to boost smart building ROI is with property technology such as video intercoms, solar panels, and smart HVAC systems.

As such, the best return on investment for your smart building is ButterflyMX access control technology. ButterflyMX is currently installed in over 10,000 buildings and has over 20,000 five-star reviews.

The ButterflyMX access control platform includes:

  • Front desk station software. Reduce operating costs by hiring less staff and utilizing our software, which replicates the functionality of a front desk person. You can communicate with residents, answer questions, and let them and their guests into the building without having any staff present.
  • Vehicle readers. Your smart building upgrades actually start in your parking lot or garage, thanks to windshield tags that allow authorized vehicles to drive up to the vehicle reader and open gates to your property hands-free.
  • Video intercoms. Credentialed users can enter your property by simply tapping a button on their mobile phones. What’s more, thanks to a 156-degree wide-lensed camera, residents can also see who they’re communicating with. Additionally, guests can be let onto a property remotely.
  • Keypads. Keypads secure amenity spaces and staff-only spaces within your property. Users may enter via their mobile phones, and guests can be assigned temporary QR codes.
  • Elevator controls. Restrict floors in your building for verified users only by using ButterflyMX elevator access control. This helps secure certain floors while not restricting the flow of traffic through your building.
  • Package rooms. Safely store all packages that your building receives and lock them in a private space behind a ButterflyMX keypad using package room access control This helps reduce the risk of package theft.


Other smart building technology ROI

In addition to access control systems, numerous other smart building technologies can boost a building’s ROI.

Smart building technology includes:

  • Sensor lights. These lights activate when they detect motion and switch off when nobody is present.
  • Solar power. Save on electricity by using solar energy.
  • Smart thermostats. These can be controlled remotely and programmed with timed cooling and heating.
  • Energy-saving windows. These windows reduce the sun’s glare, saving you money on cooling.
  • Smart HVAC systems. The intelligent part about these systems is that you can control them remotely and use them.
  • Smart laundry machines. These conserve water usage and are operated remotely.


Numerous technologies go into smart building ROI.


5 ways to achieve smart building ROI

The top smart building ROI benefits are:

  1. Energy efficiency
  2. Tenant appeal
  3. Building automation
  4. Space maximization
  5. Preventative maintenance


1. Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency in your smart building helps to lower operating costs by saving you money on electricity, heating, and cooling. Most smart building products, such as automatic light sensors that turn off when no motion is detected, are energy efficient. Additionally, energy efficiency can earn you a green building certification which can be used to appeal to tenants who are concerned with the impending hardships of climate change.

Furthermore, smart building tech can be paired with your property’s amenities, which reduces the cost of running said amenities, such as a spa or game room.


Learn about sustainable building with ButterflyMX:


2. Tenant appeal

Smart technology is just plain cool, and as a result, it has massive tenant appeal. Most Millennial and Gen Z renters love sleek technology that allows them to operate and access their phones. Accordingly, thanks to smart building technology, tenants will have more incentive to rent from your property. This gives you massive marketable appeal, which allows you to price your rent competitively. Rental income is the best way to maximize your building’s ROI.


3. Building automation

Building automation is at the forefront of what smart building technology achieves. Automation reduces the human involvement in many of your building’s processes. As a result, your building’s operations wind up costing you less because you won’t need to hire as many staff members.

Examples of building automation include:

  • Access control systems
  • HVAC systems
  • Occupancy sensors
  • Waste management
  • Lighting
  • CCTV cameras
  • Emergency fire systems
  • Intruder detection alerts
  • Moisture sensors

Additionally, building automation systems allow you to monitor how tenants use your property. This allows you to make structural changes as needed and even cut amenities that aren’t being used enough to offset their cost.


Thermostats provide great smart building ROI.


4. Space maximization

By maximizing space within your property, you gain the most out of what your building’s square footage has to offer. Intelligent buildings can help you find and utilize every available space within your property. Consequently, when you offer every available inch of space in your property to a tenant, you can then charge more for the space you provide. This additional charge directly feeds into your ROI.


5. Preventative maintenance

Most smart building technologies will alert you when a system error occurs. This allows you to fix these products before they stop working or break. Preventative maintenance like this can save you a ton of money and contribute toward your ROI. In many cases, you can fix these products yourself without having to call a professional.


The future of smart buildings

In a recent webinar, Matthew Marson, a smart building industry leader who recently launched his own online Smart Building Bootcamp course, estimated that investing $1 into smart building technology can yield a return of $3 within the next five years. That said, embracing smart building technology can only benefit your property in the long run. Multifamily and commercial properties are like businesses, and businesses need to adapt to the times or risk being left behind.

Consequently, the only con of smart building technology is the initial upfront cost to upgrade your building. As a result, we recommend starting with one upgrade at a time in accordance with your budget. What’s more, an access control system is likely your best option for an initial investment, as it’s the first thing someone sees and uses upon entering your property.


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Nick Manzolillo

I'm a Rhode Island-based writer fascinated with real estate development, the inner workings of the real estate industry, and how real estate and technology blend together.

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