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Until recently, some argued that energy efficiency was simply a do-gooder fantasy. That was until monthly carrying costs for homes came sharply into focus more recently during the inflation spike. 

Several years ago, one of my colleagues and his team marketed a gorgeous, historic townhouse in Brooklyn that had recently completed a gut renovation. This massive house, almost 9,000 square feet, had all the expected exquisite finishes and amenities one would want at this price point. However, it was newsworthy at the time as it had been renovated to PASSIV House standards by expert architects in the field, Baxt Ingui Architects. Nothing about these efforts was jarringly evident or compromised the character and beauty of the home. At the time, most people shrugged when we mentioned it had triple-glazed windows, intense, engineered insulation, and just one Mitsubishi AC/heat pump on the roof when usually there would be six or more.

Today, it's a different story. While most at this price level can afford anything, few like to pay $2,000 per month to heat or cool a home. This home costs about $100 per month to heat or cool, which is less than most one-bedroom apartments.

Yes, that is good for the planet.

Yes, that will allow us to power all those new data centers.

Yes, that will allow us to power more U.S. production.

Yes, this makes neighborhoods quieter and the air cleaner.

More importantly, cities and states around the globe are implementing new energy standards, and homes and buildings that don't meet those standards will have to retrofit or pay fines. So yes, energy efficiency costs less after an often notable up-front investment. A lot less, every single month. 

Here are the top 5 ways to make your home more energy efficient.

1. Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Windows and Doors:
Energy-efficient windows and doors maintain a consistent indoor temperature, reducing the need for heating and cooling. Look for windows with low-E glass, consider double or triple glazing, and ensure doors have proper weather stripping.

2. Insulate Your Home:
Proper insulation prevents heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. Insulating your attic, walls, floors, and basement can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 20%. Don’t forget to insulate your water heater and pipes.

3. Install a Programmable Thermostat:

A programmable thermostat allows you to set different temperatures for different times of the day, saving up to 10% on heating and cooling bills. Some models offer remote access via smartphone apps.

4. Switch to LED Lighting:

LED bulbs use up to 75% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Replace all incandescent and halogen bulbs with LEDs, use dimmable LEDs for adjustable lighting, and consider smart LEDs for remote control.

5. Seal Air Leaks:

Sealing air leaks around windows, doors, and electrical outlets can reduce energy loss, lower utility bills, and eliminate drafts. Use caulk or weather stripping to seal gaps and consider a professional energy audit for hidden leaks.

Improving your home's energy efficiency is a smart investment and evaluating these things when buying may be the new essential. Aside from energy efficiency, climate-related resiliency aspects can bring down insurance costs notably too. Money matters matter, especially to the wealthiest amongst us or anyone hoping to build wealth.