Now that the weather is (finally?) turning cold, we once again start noticing those heating and electricity bills! Saving energy in our home is good for both our wallets and our environment. A home energy audit, also known as a home energy assessment, is the first step to assess how much energy your home consumes and to evaluate what measures you can take to make your home more energy efficient. An assessment will show you problems that may, when corrected, save you significant amounts of money over time.

A great first step is to do the self-audit at http://hes.lbl.gov. It asks you to enter information about your home such as its size, windows, insulation, and heating system, and this tool will give you an estimate of where you should look first for energy savings.

For the best advice, you may want to consider hiring a professional energy auditor. He or she has the expertise and tools to really pinpoint where you may be losing money.

I just learned that New York has a program that provides for a free or greatly-reduced-cost audit for home owners, depending on your income. I was pleasantly surprised at how much of the cost of the audit would be covered by NY state, and I just signed up for an audit! Check it out!

~Donna Gresh