published the Pyramid of Energy Conservation, which recommended the order of what you should do when making a plan to upgrade your home for energy efficiency. You start at the bottom and move up, with each step increasing in complexity and cost.
Get an audit
If you are going to cut your energy consumption and carbon emissions, you have to know where they are leaking out.
Do the free stuff, including turning things off, lowering thermostats, and using a clothesline or horse.
You start with data from the Red Door of Truth, with analysis by a professional who is not a window, foam, or furnace salesperson, and then you climb the pyramid of energy conservation and carbon reduction from there.
Do the cheap stuff, like changing every lightbulb to LED, caulking, and weatherstripping.
Do the big easy hunks, as energy pioneer Harold Orr called them.
Get window inserts. They are a fraction of the cost of new windows but dramatically cut drafts and noise.
Get off the gas. This is a big step in cost but a giant leap in carbon emissions reduction. Change the furnace or boiler for a heat pump, and get a heat pump hot water heater.
Install photovoltaics if your roof faces the right way, and your electricity supplier will buy the power from you.
Do a gut job and go enerphit—the Passivhaus standard for renovations.
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