Background: Intelligent, adaptive, wireless, and GPS-enabled heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) control devices have significant potential with regards to energy efficiency and cost savings through reduction of utility bills when implemented into the mechanical controls of a home.
Objective: The aim of this paper is to conduct a patent search in order to evaluate the recent advances on smart HVAC control devices and provide a summary of key patents in this technical field.
Methods: A patent search was conducted to identify recent U.S. patent publications covering smart HVAC control devices. The study adopts an empirical approach to analyze patent data combined with a qualitative review of selected patent publications in this technical field.
Results: The patent search yielded a total of 90 patents and patent applications with approximately 65% of the advances made in the past five years. Twenty-eight patents are reviewed in this article representing the direction HVAC control has taken over the past two years.
Conclusion: While there has been significant developments in this technical field in the last 5 years, there is room for focused developments in the area of energy conservation. This may be accomplished by means of suggestive temperature control through the use of wireless networking, GPS enabled mobile devices, localized recognition, sensing technologies and occupant incentive methods.