Consumer Adviser Clark Howard believes being able to live without paying utility bills is not far from reality for homeowners.
Andrew Hickman and Rosemary Kimble are already living a utility
"The whole goal was to build a house that's sustainable
," explained Hickman.
It took five years and a strict budget, but they achieved their goal.
"It forced us to live below our means
… I'm not a crazy guy, I'm just a guy who likes to work the numbers, and living this kind of a lifestyle made sense to me ," said Hickman.
Hickman owns the company New Earth Homes, which focuses on off
grid living and net zero passive solar.
He built the entire structure by himself.
Solar panels with a backup battery system supply all the power.
The battery bank is large enough to supply
the home with power for up to five days without sunlight.
The couple harvests rainwater,
which runs down their roof into giant tanks.
"So we are not connected to any municipality; we get all of our water from the sky
," said Kimble.
The average consumer spends nearly $3,000 per year on utilities, something Hickman doesn't worry about.
"We have no utility bills, we own the house outright, we own the land.
Pretty much our only bills each year are propane once a year, 300 bucks in taxes," Hickman said.
He wants everyone to know there are money savers every homeowner can take advantage of today that will help them save for tomorrow.
LED lights, solar panels, Energy Star appliances
and foam insulation are great places to start.
Hickman says if you are building a home, finding a contractor
who will help you achieve the goal of fewer utilities is a must.
He says the money you'll save will amaze you.
"That could be retirement, that could be college savings, that could pay for the house in some situations
," Hickman said.