The first step to improving the comfort and efficiency of your home is to identify and prioritize energy-saving improvements. One way to do that is to perform a do-it-yourself energy audit. Online tools at hes.lbl.gov/consumer and togetherwesave.com can help.
After you know where your home is losing energy, use your findings to make improvements. But first, craft a plan that considers how any one change will affect the energy efficiency, comfort, durability, health and safety of your whole house. Changes in your energy usage habits are an important first consideration.
Plan your habit changes, and consider these ideas:
- Do you forget to turn off lights and electronics? Which items could be unplugged when not in use?
- Are you using window coverings for maximum heating, cooling and lighting benefits?
- How can you adjust your heating and cooling to save energy?
Next, plan your projects. Make a timeline of projects to do now, in the near future and over the long term. Start by sealing air leaks, then move on to other weatherization projects.
Ask yourself these questions to help with your planning:
- Where are the greatest energy losses in the home?
- What projects provide the greatest return on time and money investments?
- How long will it take for an investment in energy efficiency to pay for itself in energy cost savings? The website tools above estimate return on investment, yearly savings and payback times.
- How long do you plan to own your current home?
- What would help make your home most comfortable now? What projects should you plan for the future?
- What can you do yourself? What should you hire out? What is your budget?
Purchase materials and complete projects with these tips in mind:
- Search for federal, state and local incentives, such as tax credits and rebates, on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency website, dsireusa.org.
- Visit energysaver.gov for guides and videos that show you how to complete DIY projects, including caulking, weatherstripping, installing storm windows and improving your water heater’s efficiency.