Posted On

Lowering the Operating Cost of My Home: An Executive's Approach

A few years ago, I began thinking about how I could lower the Operating Cost associated with my home -- to as close to zero as possible. This was driven by several factors:

  1. I hate paying bills (I’m a disorganized guy and these bills just keep showing up in the mail -- such a nuisance!). And I won’t use auto-pay because I don’t want anyone storing my CC info. I simply never developed that bill paying muscle (probably because my ex handled that administrivia for 20+ years).

  2. Incentives to conserve energy and encourage Green behavior are everywhere – from appliances, to natural gas, solar, thermostats, water and electricity. Rebates, discounts and other incentives are hard to ignore.

  3. The technology to help the homeowner increase efficiency and conservation is also maturing to the point that it actually works (although many companies claim more than they can deliver)!

  4. I also wanted to do my part for the environment. I thought if I could get my energy usage down, not only would it be good for the environment but I'd get that much closer to my goal of zero Operating Costs!

So a few years ago, I began doing some things to help get there. I recycle religiously. I choose paper over plastic, and I even began composting (easy to do on 5 acres in Austin). I also paid off everything I could (ie. mortgages and other loans) -- the tax deduction just isn’t worth paying all that interest.

Then, about a year ago, I took a job running sales at a company called WigWag. It was an excellent fit as we develop tools that can be used to build products for the IoT (Internet of Things) as well as automate the home and make it more efficient – another step towards that zero Operating Expense goal!

Now I’ve really got the bug and I’m making my entire home “smart”. Here’s a couple of quick products that have helped with that:

I needed a new water heater, so I bought a smart one made by Rheem.

I needed a new thermostat, so I bought a smart one made by nest

Now I control both with my iPhone from anywhere in the world and am able to set up rules and other logic that fits my lifestyle – while also keeping energy usage to the bare minimum – good stuff! But there’s more…

  • I’ve been replacing incandescent bulbs with smart LED bulbs (WigWag Filaments). They’re a little pricey, but they use 1/10th the energy and they’re dimmable & colorable (and have a much more pleasing range of whites). Plus they last 10 years (and pay for themselves in less than 5)!

  • I bought a few gadgets from Amazon (two wireless cameras, a few sensors and a smart RING video doorbell). No more ADT home security subscription!

  • I also put a floating sensor in my pool that notifies my phone when the pH is off. Then it automatically orders the right amount and combination of chemicals -- and then has them delivered right to my door! Amazing (and for 1/4th of the “pool-man” expense)!

The main takeaway I want you to get from this article is that RIGHT NOW, marrying a little time, cash and technology can absolutely get you closer to that zero Operating Expense lifestyle. The tools & tech are here… (here comes the gratuitous plug) - and at WigWag, we intend to drive innovation in the space!

Leave a comment below or tweet at us and let us know what smart home devices you either currently have or are in the market for and why -- we’d love to hear about them!

Comments from WigWag Talk