The most significant way in which one saves money in a green home is through a reduction in the use of electricity and water. Rainwater is a free resource once harvested and solar energy is a free source of electricity, once harnessed.
Minimal water and electricity are needed, in any case, by using insulation, under floor hydronics and a water-wise garden.
Green homes are also low maintenance. Examples of areas in which there are cost-savings, are with the use of naturally-coloured roof tiles, aluminum railings and bamboo counter-tops. Bamboo and aluminum are durable materials and aluminum doesn’t rust easily. Naturally-coloured roof tiles won’t fade and don’t need to be painted.
The biggest return on investment is gained when the home is resold. There is a rising demand for green homes in South Africa.
When we live in a green home for 10 years or less, we get back the investment by saving on utilities and maintenance. And when the home is resold, one receives double the investment (plus interest). So the additional costs for the green benefits are more than covered.
That’s good investing.
Using harvested rainwater can make a major dent in the water bill. And when using insulation features, electricity usage is reduced to a large extent.
Hot water insulation reduces geyser/heat-pump costs. And room insulation maintains the room temperature. A radiant heating and cooling system throughout the floor of the home makes temperature control cheap.
All these savings result in a reduction in living costs and eventually, a great return on investment. Within about ten years or less, the extra amount that we paid for the green home is retrieved with these savings. We also gain a profit when we sell such a home.
To add to this, green homes have a low impact on the environment, making them even more valuable.
Green home prices may be higher than that of other houses on the market – however, there is a great return on investment.
Our water bill is reduced by up to 60% when rainwater harvesting is implemented. (Rainwater is used for washing machines, gardens and toilet flushing.)
Insulation of the home reduces the electricity bill. Room insulation maintains room temperature and pipe insulation reduces the need to heat up water.
And using hydronics radiant heating and cooling makes temperature control inexpensive.
With all the above savings added up, there is a great reduction in monthly living costs, and this will give a return on investment. Within ten years or less, the extra that is paid for the home is recouped in this way.
When owning an eco-friendly home we’ll command a premium when the time comes to sell. Investing in a green home will not only save money while living in it, it will increase in value with each years. Future buyers will be better educated about the benefits of greener living and actively seek out homes that already have green features. Even seek out purpose built eco-friendly homes. And with the added benefits of smart home technology, the value increases even further. Buyers will come to expect eco-friendly homes combined with smart home technology.
What is smart home technology?
Smart home technology refers to the use of computers to manage functions and features of a green home such as the electricity consumption, heating, cooling and the water usage. Such homes are referred to green smart homes. The smart technology infrastructure includes that the home’s data is easily accessed from a smartphone app or computer. The smart technology enables the monitoring and managing of a smart home from our smartphone or computer.
This enables that we efficiently manage our green smart home from within the home or from remotely. It makes running our home convenient and adds an extra layer of security to our property. With some systems, it is even possible to set schedules for lighting and the home’s temperature. Or, we’re able to rely on sensors to automate certain features. For example, before leaving the office, we’re able to turn on the lights so we arrive home to a bright house. Or, a sensor could detect the morning sun and automatically open the blinds and curtains, and the converse in the evening.
What is a green smart home?
Smart technology infrastructure is the foundation of a green smart home. Because, along with making it convenient to manage the green features, the smart system enables us to monitor various main features, like the energy and water consumption. Smart home technology continuously collects data of the home. This data is used to maximise the efficiency of all the features of the home. The efficiency translates to increased savings of the monthly running costs. And as the cost of basic services continues to rise, we enjoy greater savings without having to change our lifestyle. In addition, with a green smart home, luxury features are implemented in the most cost effective way. For instance, such a home is constructed taking many things into account. The green smart home being fully temperature controlled throughout the year with the electrical costs even multiple times lower than the traditional home equivalent, while sporting the luxury of being fully temperature controlled.
How do green smart homes increase our return on investment?
Eco-friendly homes are more expensive than traditional ones. That’s because they include features that cost more to implement during the building phase. And, the value of a green home lies in the fact that our monthly utility costs are significantly reduced. The money that we save every month on electricity and water is available to, for instance, put towards paying off our home.
And this is how green smart homes increase our monthly savings:
- Tracking our power consumption
The smart home system can be connected to a Hydronics Radiant heating and cooling system and heat pump. Both of these features use electricity efficiently. And because we can track our energy consumption over days, weeks, months and years, we have a clearer picture of exactly how much energy our home uses.
If we raise the temperature of our home in winter, within minutes, we are able to see the impact this has on our costs. We then have the option to make an informed decisions about our comfort level versus the costs involved. With a smartphone app, we are able to log in to the system at any time and make adjustments to the Hydronics Radiant heating and cooling system. Though reducing the temperature by half a degree or by one degree would not make much difference to our comfort levels, it would in fact make a significant difference to the cost of running the system.
The same applies to the heat pump. Hot water accounts for a significant portion of our monthly electricity bill. A heat pump uses electricity efficiently, so it already saves us money. When adding a linked-loop system, we have hot water on tap, which saves on water. Instead of running the tap for what feels like minutes while waiting for the hot water to reach the required temperature, the water is instead at the temperature you need within seconds.
With traditional geysers, adjusting the thermostat is cumbersome, which is why most people set it and forget it. We’re able to reduce our electricity usage by adjusting the temperature every season. We don’t need the water to be as hot in summer as in winter. And with a green smart home, it’s easy to adjust the temperature from our smartphone. Plus, we’ll be able to see immediately how dialing the temperature down a few degrees impacts our electricity consumption.
Once again, we’re able to monitor and manage our power consumption while maintaining our comfort. People generally don’t realise that greener living is luxury living. Imagine, living luxuriously, while saving money. Having full access to monitor every element and every feature of our home empowers to make choices and to manage our home efficiently, and to maximise the savings of our monthly running costs.
As we use the smart home technology to track our power consumption, we increase our understanding of how our lifestyle impacts our home’s running costs. Over time, we’re able to identify patterns and budget accordingly. Or, find new ways to reduce our consumption and be able to track the results. Simply being aware of our energy consumption makes a big difference to the way we live. It encourages us to use energy wisely, save money, while incidentally easing the strain on the municipal supply and the planet. It’s all about balance.
Smart home technology adds value
The features discussed above have already been implemented in some green homes. The aforementioned are some of the benefits of smart home technology. Expanding the system is possible and includes other features and benefits of the green smart homes such as:
- Security: Add an alarm to the system which works with motion sensors. When the alarm is set off, it triggers the blinds to open, switches on lights and play loud music. This takes the intruder by surprise. Having an alarm system will also lower our insurance premiums and again we save money.
- Setting schedules: By developing the smart home technology system further, to set schedules for the lighting and blinds. For example, turning the lights on shortly before arriving home at night. Although a new technology, we’re able to add many features to the smart home system.
- Remote control: By adding additional sensors to appliances, we’re able to set the washing machine or dishwasher to run while out of peak period. Smart home technology offers us the ability to interact with our home, even when we aren’t there.
When selling our green smart home, we’ll have more to offer potential buyers than what a traditional home offers. The green features alone already add tremendous value to our home. Future buyers will be more aware of how much they’ll save while living in a green home. From a cost-effective Hydronics Radiant heating and cooling system, to underground rainwater harvesting tanks, buyers will appreciate that a green smart home saves them money from the moment they move in.
Combined with the smart home technology, we’re offering buyers a modern, luxurious lifestyle that contributes to their saving from when they move in. We have already become dependent on our smartphones for access to information, and smart home technology does the same for our green homes. Tech savvy buyers will appreciate this added levels of information that the system offers. And once we’ve experienced it for ourselves, we’ll be able to show them why it’s valuable.
Save now and increase our return on investment
By combining green living and smart home technology, we push the energy-efficiency of our homes. We’ll gain a deeper understanding of our power consumption, and have at our finger tips features that make our lives comfortable. With the knowledge, it’s easy to implement other features to further increase our comfort and savings. That’s money to put towards paying off our home faster, thereby investing for our children’s future and for our retirement.
After experiencing all the benefits of living in a green smart home, we’ll get a good return on our investment when selling our green smart home on. Green homes are not common in South Africa. Studies in the USA have already shown that green home owners command a higher price for their property. And by adding smart home technology to the mix, we increase the value of our homes even more.
With that in mind, it certainly makes sense to consider investing in a green smart home. Property has always been considered a sound investment. We’re able to maximise the value of that investment by looking at green smart homes.
South Africans are already aware of the benefits of greener living. Some new residential developments have added green features. That’s because they know they’ll save on monthly running costs and are less dependent on the utility service providers. The rising costs of electricity and water have contributed to this and it’s likely that costs of these basic services will continue to increase.
Buying any property will be the biggest financial decision we ever make. By choosing wisely, and investing in a green smart home, we’ll save money now and reap the rewards of a good return on our investment in time to come. Green smart homes offer us more financial benefits than traditional properties ever will.