This is a tip almost any homeowner can follow, regardless of budget: Have a home energy audit. A home energy audit is essentially a thorough inspection of your home, in which you (or a professional inspector) examines such things as air leaks, sites where insulation could reduce energy transfer from outside and the efficiency of your appliances and electrical system [source: U.S. Department of Energy]. A professional energy audit, if it's in your budget, can include higher-tech assessments such as thermal imaging and precise airflow measurement. These tools refine the audit, helping the inspector pinpoint exactly where your home's energy weak spots are and how much they're costing you in terms of heating and cooling bills.
A home energy audit is a wise first step in making your home eco-friendly. Whether you hire a contractor or do it yourself, the audit will help you develop an effective gameplan of projects that can cut your energy needs and save money.