Increasing energy efficiency in the home is a concern that is echoed throughout all aspects of the residential housing sector. From sustainable building practices and energy-conserving materials to smart gadgets and ultra-efficient appliances, professionals across the board are tasked with finding ways of making homes more energy efficient.

Because keeping up with current trends is essential when it comes to building and design, we've come up with a few of the top trending home upgrades in energy efficiency. By staying current in the industry, these tips will help you meet your residential clients' energy needs.

Solar roofs

Solar power is no longer an unknown term for most homeowners and businesses, but the ever-changing technology behind this renewable energy source means that industry professionals need to keep up with current trends in order to provide the most up-to-date and energy efficient solutions for consumers.

Building-integrated solar panels that are virtually camouflaged in the roof of homes are the latest and greatest development in solar tech. Tesla's Solar Roof — although currently only available for the wealthiest homeowners, will likely soon become the model on which solar providers base their designs in the future.

Another developing product of note is the solar home battery. The second version of Tesla's Powerwall can store energy and run a home off-grid indefinitely when recharged with solar power.

Smart home solutions

Connectivity is an essential part of 21st-century living, and residential life is no exception. Homeowners are increasingly conscious of their need to be connected to everything in their home — even when they are away.

Appliances and household gadgets equipped with smart technology allow homeowners to keep tabs on their energy consumption and adjust settings on the go via smartphone or tablet apps.

Smart thermostats like the Nest Learning Thermostat and other connectable appliances such as smart lighting systems, HVAC units, kitchen appliances, and even security systems can learn your preferences in order to maximize energy savings link together in order to make homes work more efficiently. Many homeowners are now virtually running their homes with the help of voice-activated home hubs like Google Home and Amazon Echo.

Energy-saving lighting systems

Although most lighting professionals now know the benefits of LED lights over traditional halogen or incandescent bulbs, the energy-saving properties of these new alternatives bear repeating here.

Homeowners are being encouraged to make the switch to LED lighting throughout the home for both safety and efficiency reasons incandescents and halogens have already been phased out in many countries around the world. Furthermore, the U.S. government energy website estimates that LEDs consume only 25-30 percent of the energy that standard halogen bulbs consume and can last up to 25 times longer.

Other energy-efficient lighting options that are on homeowners' minds include smart technology-linked lighting systems, dimmer switches, timers, and motion sensors — all of which can substantially reduce energy bills when used correctly.

Energy-efficient windows

The vast majority of new residential properties come with energy-efficient windows as standard, but homeowners with older homes and sky-high energy bills are currently considering changing their windows in order to decrease their household energy costs. According to, installing exterior low-e storm windows can save an average of $100-$274 annually.

When upgrading, homeowners are looking for quality Energy Star-rated windows that will increase the insulation and soundproofing in their homes, regulate interior temperatures and stand the test of time. This is currently done through multiple panes of glass equipped with reflective low-e coatings and insulating gas between the layers, but experts estimate that the future of energy efficient windows lies in smart glass, which can be tinted and adjusted electrically — by users or external light and/or temperatures.

Other upgrades

The fact that there are currently too many energy-efficient home upgrades to list in this article suggests that homeowners are doing whatever they can to decrease their energy use at home.

In addition to the changes mentioned above, there are several other significant ways that professionals can offer energy-saving alternatives to clients. This includes making use of eco-friendly and sustainable materials during the building and decoration processes and installing energy-efficient ductless HVAC systems (or mini-split systems) for increased efficiency and security in the home.

Finally, encouraging homeowners to make energy-conscious choices in their daily lives will help to further decrease energy costs and lower their carbon footprint. Green never sounded so appealing!