Lower your utility bills: Get an energy audit

Plugging air leaks, upgrading thermostat among easiest fixes

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

When you hear the word "audit," you probably immediately go into panic mode. But not every audit has to conjure up scary images of boxes full of paperwork and scowling accountants. When it comes to a warmer house and saving money on your utility bill, an energy audit can be one of the best things you've ever done for yourself. Simply put, an energy audit is an in-depth inspection and analysis of your home's structural envelope to determine where you might be wasting energy, and then to provide solutions both large and small. The auditor will take a number of measurements along the way, and perform a variety of different heat-loss and heat-gain calculations. All of this information is then used to determine how much heat your home is losing -- or, in warmer climates, how much it's gaining -- and then offer solutions about how to reduce that loss or gain in order to make the home more comfortable and also reduce energy costs. There's no single set procedure for how ...