Housing has changed drastically over the years and I’m not just talking about the last 2 or 3. Tour an 80 year old home and you’ll notice the light switches that have been added after the house was built simply because electricity wasn’t a thing when it was built! You’ll freeze during winter because there’s no actual insulation in the roof, walls or floor. Plus good luck using high powered devices like an induction cooktop without fully redoing the main switchboard.
Now that all houses have electricity along with many other modern marvels, how might your current home change over the next 10 years with new future technologies coming online? Are there any big shifts you should be aware of and what can you do now to help really benefit from them in the future?
In 2019 we’re absolutely not short on “future tech”. From 5G mobile pones, 4K recording drones or AI things are moving quicker than ever. But below I’d like to outline a number of up and coming major shifts that will really impact your home, how it’s run day to day and what changes or upgrades will likely make it more valuable – and enjoyable – for you in the future all while hopefully helping you to save a few dollars too.
The Future Is Coming…
To begin let’s start with Solar PV and Battery Storage Systems.
Currently in Australia it’s basically financially stupid to not have a solar system on your roof. That is assuming you have a roof that has North, West or South facing roof space not covered in shade. Obviously if you rent or don’t own your own roof you’re excused, but otherwise going forward into the future it will simply be more and more stupider to not have large solar systems.
Battery systems are roughly 5 years behind where Solar PV is now. So it’s safe to assume that as their costs plummet more and more, it’ll also become financially stupid not to have a 10 kWh, 20 kWh or more system plugged into that solar PV array. It’ll enable you to have cheaper electricity, keep your house on during power outages and ensure you’re running on green, solar powered electricity virtually 99% of the time. A win all around.
A big thing to note also is that you can and should absolutely buy Solar PV now. Don’t “wait” for battery prices to come down so you can buy them both at the same time as there’s simply no need to. Get as big a solar system as you can now, then in a few more years once the payback period of batteries is more favourable you can add it to your existing system. In those few years you’ll be saving thousands on your power bills and helping the environment too.
Tying in nicely with Solar PV and Batteries is Battery Electric Vehicles or BEV’s.
Currently the biggest blocker to BEV’s in Australia isn’t charging infrastructure or prices or anything else like that… it’s simply education. The vast majority of people literally have no idea how EV’s work, what it’s like living with one, why they’re far superior to olden day gas guzzlers or why your next car really should be BEV.
Australia unfortunately is about 5-10 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to EV’s so this one will, like home battery storage systems, become more and more apparent over the next 5 years or so. That being said there’s not a huge amount you have to do to your home to get it ready for EV’s.
Many think that you must have super high powered charging infrastructure at home in order to own an EV but it’s not true. A standard power point at home can deliver up to 10 Amps at 240 Volts or 2.4 kW’s of total power. That means if you come home and plug in your EV at 6PM at night, then unplug it and go off to work at 6AM in the morning you’ll get up to 12 hours * 2.4 kW = 28.8 kWh’s of power put into your EV.
How much range will that ~28 kWh’s get you? If you own a Tesla Model 3 it’ll add around 200 km’s of real world range. If you have a Hyundai Ioniq Electric – another fantastic EV now available in Australia for around $50,000 drive away – you’ll have charged basically the entire car and have a full 200 km’s of range again available.
As you can come home and plug in every night if you really need to, it’s pretty easy to see that you don’t actually need any special three-phase high powered setup for an EV. Even if you have two EV’s running off the same 2.4 kW power outlet it’d just mean you’d only get around 100 km’s added each night to each car which is still quite acceptable for most peoples commutes.
So while you don’t need any special high powered setup to accommodate future EV’s, do keep in mind that you’ll want good quality power outlets right next to where ever you normally park your cars. If you’re building a new car port or adding a garage onto your house just make sure to add them in the design. Or the next time you have an electrician over ask them to also add a new point while they’re at it.
All Electric. All The Time.
Continuing our trend of electricity it’s highly likely that as we push further into the future more and more homes are going to be ditching gas and going all electric for everything.
Over the past 10 or so years running your home on all electric appliances has taken huge strides. There’s been big advances in the availability, quality and efficiency of things like split systems, heat pump water systems and electric cooktops. As a result, it’s now fantastic to run your house purely electric and will only get better/cheaper in the future.
As noted earlier, Solar PV and Battery Storage is going to eventually crush the price of electricity. In another 5 years or so you’ll likely be able to pay $2-3,000 for a 5+ kW solar system, maybe another $3-5,000 for a decent 10-20 kWh battery storage unit and that will be that. You’ll generate, store and use 99% of your own power all the time. While grid power will still be there and used, it’ll be such a small fraction of your bill that it’s price won’t really matter.
That means that you’ll essentially be paying $0 for using more electricity, assuming you don’t use more than your solar array is producing. As such, ditching the ancient gas burners, gas hot water system and gas heater makes a lot of financial, climate and comfort sense.
So next time you do a kitchen renovation, are looking for a new home or have your water heater, gas heater or cooktop need replacing, make sure you choose an electric version instead. This way you can save money when your home eventually produces its own, free power in the future.
I cannot speak highly enough of induction cooktops with proper induction compatible cookware. The cooktops look sexier, are ridiculously easy to clean, have more control when cooking, use virtually no actual power due to their efficiency and are far safer by not having a live flame.
As for your water heater, something like the Sanden Heat Pump Water System once again uses basically no power to do a fantastic job. You’ll notice no difference in the temperature of the water but you’ll be using electricity instead of gas. And yes, they work perfectly even in temperatures as low as minus 10 degrees C, have a life expectancy of 15 years and are essentially silent when running.
Act Now, Benefit Forever
As you can see, pretty much everything centres around electricity and increased electrification of the home. As such, any time in the future where renovations or even just electrical work is being done try and use it to add to your homes future capabilities.
Add in dedicated power points next to each car space in your garage. Upgrade your switchboard if you have an older house so that it can now handle induction cooktops or other high powered devices like house wide split system heater/cooling units.
Go out and investigate/buy a Solar PV system if you have a decent amount of roof space and haven’t already. Learn about home battery storage systems and keep an eye on when they become financially viable. If you’re in South Australia or Victoria you might even be eligible for government grants making them viable right now!
Or maybe if your water heater explodes and spews water everywhere make sure to buy an electric heat pump one to replace it instead of a gas one. With any of these steps you’ll be ensuring your home is more and more capable of handling the future not to mention saving you money in the process.
The benefits include: 1) How to pay off your mortgage faster than 99% of people with one hour a month of work 2) How to get rid of your debt and have the freedom to spend money on the things you love, guilt free 3) Clear outline of how to setup your expenses, mortgage and general finance 4) How offset accounts work and how to get the same result without being gouged by the big banks 5) How to cut through the crap and focus on the things that truly matter when taking down a mortgage 6) How to adjust the strategy so it works for you, even if you have kids, even if you only have one income 7) How to do all of these things and maintain a normal social life (and never be cheap).