Utilities, they are the one item most people overlook when they move into a new home, most of us just call to set them up and we accept the amount due like it is set in stone, and there is nothing we can do to change it. But that isn’t true. While we cannot change the utility companies, we can change how much energy and water we use on a regular basis.
Investing in certain smart home devices can help you significantly reduce your water and energy use and can have long term positive financial impact for you and arguably more importantly reduce your carbon footprint on the planet.
Smart Home Devices that are a Great Investment
Smart home devices are usually split into their different objective categories. Some focus on improving home security (doorbell cameras, smart door locks, motion sensors and security cameras) and some focus on convenience (automated vacuum cleaners, voice activated automation hubs). Our favorites are the ones that reduce your monthly expenses. Many of these smart home devices on the market can pay for themselves within a few years, giving you a nice return on your initial investment.
These smart home devices reduce your water and power usage (and consequently your utility bills) by helping you monitor and optimize key household features without affecting your comfort or routine.
How it works: The Amphiro Smart Water Meter is designed to provide you with information on how much water you use in the shower. There are two meter options to choose from, a1 which just provides you with data that is only available through the meter itself and b1 which works with a smartphone app so you can know how much water is being used even when you aren’t home, they are both designed to provide you with data that gently encourages you to take shorter showers.
Pros: It can show you how much water you are using and encourage you to use less water. Users of the Amphiro Smart Water Meter have been shocked by how much water they had previously been using and have shown a subsequent reduction of power usage of 440 kWh and 2,245 gallons of water a year. It is also powered by the water flow of your shower so it’s easy to install and you don’t have to worry about changing batteries.
Cons: It can’t regulate water use and the data on water usage is restricted to your shower use.
ROI: At an average US electricity price of 13c / kWh and 1,000 gallons of water priced at $1.50 you can obtain a saving of $60 per year for a purchase price of approximately $100. This implies a ROI of 3.0x over the course of 5 years.
How it works: The Nest Learning Thermostat gets to know you. It learns what is the optimal temperature you prefer and then builds a schedule to make sure your home is at that temperature when you are home, adjusting automatically it’s usage for time of day and seasons. And when you aren’t home it adjusts the temperature to save you money. On average it can save 10-15% on heating bills, and 15% on cooling, which makes it a cost effective option when you want to save money in your new home.
Pros: It saves money and manages your heating and cooling system.
Cons: You have to program it correctly to recognize the proposed saving. If you aren’t tech savvy, you should look for professionals to help you configure it correctly.
ROI: With a price of $240 and an approximate savings of $145 this is a sound investment that represents a return of 3.0X ROI on your initial investment over 5 years.
How it Works: By adding, dimmers like the Lutron Maestro you can save energy and even increase security in your new home. Light management is a great way to help you save money on utilities and keep your home safe. Dimmers and light control systems can allow you to adjust light to save energy when it’s day, and allowing you to manage light levels at night.
Pros: Lighting options are a great way to reduce energy costs. Whether you choose to use dimmers, light control systems or motion sensors by managing the lights in your home you can reduce the amount you pay on your utility bills.
Cons: If you choose to connect a wireless lighting system to your home you may encounter issues with reliability. You also want to make sure that you have a plan for your lighting system before you install it, you don’t want to end up with a system that doesn’t work properly or provide the energy savings you are looking for.
ROI: With an initial price of around $35 the Lutron Maestro is a pretty sound investment. With an annual savings of 177 kWh you should save on average $23 annually, which leaves you with an ROI of 3.3x your original investment costs over 5 years.
Better Investment than the S&P 500
To put these ROIs in perspective, if you invested your money at any time in the S&P 500 for 5 years at any time over the last 80 years, your average ROI would only be 1.6x. So an investment in a smart home device has the capacity to generate your household a better return than investing it in the equities market.
Set it up Right for Maximum Benefits
Setting up your smart devices in your new home from the start will ensure that you obtain the maximum benefits and avoid the constant drain on your wallet. These devices can help you control your water and energy not only lower your utility costs, they can pay for themselves and give you a nice ROI. But before you start counting all your extra money you need to make sure that you have your smart devices properly installed and configured correctly with a particular focus on optimizing your smart thermostat to minimize energy usage. If you are not wise in the ways of installation you should consider using a professional service.
This is a guest post by Joseph Mack from smarthomeSAGE, a blog that analyzes the impact the smart home technology revolution has on home life. Follow the smarthomeSAGE to learn how to save money, energy and avoid those household chores via technology.