Making your home more energy efficient is good for the environment, and it can also be good for your pocketbook. There are typically some upfront costs, but many will pay for themselves in a relatively short time. A professional energy audit can help you determine where your improvement efforts will have the biggest impact. Here are three areas where many homeowners can benefit from improvements.

1. Insulation

When your home is properly insulated, it can better keep the cold air of winter and the hot air of summer outside, keeping your interior more comfortable. When you’re using your heating and cooling system, insulation keeps your interior temperature more stable, resulting in lower energy usage. An energy consultant or insulation specialist can help you determine where you could use more insulation. Whether you require spray foam roof insulation, wall insulation, or other types, it’s worth making the effort to improve what you have for cost and energy savings.

2. Lighting

Energy-efficient lightbulbs are widely available and very reasonably priced, so now is a great time to replace your outdated incandescent lighting with modern options. Compact fluorescent and LED lightbulbs are two popular options. Both of these use approximately 25% of the energy of standard incandescents for the same light output. They also last 10-25 times longer than incandescents, meaning you will be saving money and energy for a very long time.

Many companies also now sell lightbulbs or light fixtures that you can control with home assistants, such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa. These bulbs can typically be dimmed, which uses less energy. They can also be turned off from anywhere. If you realize you’ve gone on vacation and left a few lights on, you don’t have to pay for a week of energy. Instead, you can click a button in your app and turn them off.

3. Heating and Cooling

When it’s time to replace a worn-out furnace or air conditioner, you’ll likely be purchasing a unit that is significantly more energy-efficient than the one it’s replacing. In addition, smart thermostats are available that offer more fine-tuned controls for your heating and cooling systems. You can program these thermostats to run less when you’re away from home. They can also adjust fan speeds and heating or cooling output to optimize interior temperature and humidity with the least possible energy use.

When you opt to upgrade household systems, you can make your home much more energy efficient. This is a great way to save money, and the environment benefits as well.