If you’re a homeowner or planning on becoming one, it’s normal to want to upgrade your home. While there are many exciting home upgrade methods, such as improving your kitchen or adding a swimming pool, one of the best is improving your home’s energy efficiency.
Fortunately, improving your home energy efficiency doesn’t have to break your bank account. It can also provide you with long-term savings.
Here are five powerful strategies to improve your energy efficiency and their upfront costs:
Schedule a home energy audit ($300 to $400)
Unless you’re a building energy expert, you’ll benefit from a professional home energy audit — a room-by-room assessment of your home’s energy efficiency. Energy auditors provide personalized recommendations for your home based on measurements from thermographic scanning tools.

If you introduce the recommendations from your energy audit, you can lower your monthly energy bill by up to 30% while increasing your comfort.
Add caulk to seal leaky air ($1 to do it yourself – $50 an hour for a professional)
When it comes to energy efficiency, there are few problems worse than air escaping through your home’s infrastructure. Whether it’s leaks letting hot air inside during summer or letting in cold air during winter, you can use caulk to help seal cracks and opening. Effectively using caulk can help lower your energy bills by up to 20%.
Use an advanced power strip for electronic equipment ($20)
Advanced power strips prevent your electronics from drawing power while they’re turned off or not being used (a huge strain on your power supply). Using these power strips can lower your monthly power bill by up to 10%.
Install a smart thermostat system ($250)
Smart thermostats let you automate and control your home’s climate control system. This lowers your power bill while improving your comfort. For example, you can automatically turn your heat on at a specific time before you wake up. CNET recently reviewed some of their favorite smart thermostat systems.  
Plant shade trees ($50 to $200)
One of the most effective ways to improve your home energy efficiency is planting shade trees. According to the United States Forest Service, strategically planted shade trees can save up to 56% on your home energy costs while also improving your property value.
There are easy ways to improve your home energy efficiency
Improving your energy efficiency is something you’ll feel good about, and can be done affordably. For more information on home energy improvements and their cost savings, visit the Department of Energy website.

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