Plan your home upgrades around what really matters to your target market.

Energy efficient upgrades aren't just good for you; they can make your house more marketable to an increasingly energy-conscious public. There was a time when some energy wasters barely registered with home owners. As long as a heating system warmed up the house, the only thing to really complain about was how much it cost to run. And who could have imagined that smart thermostats would exist at all, at least outside Start Trek?

Construction expert, Clint Stevens, writes for Inman that what might seem gadgety or not that much of a draw really does work because buyers want a home that's convenient, modern and safe. Times change, and every generation gets a little more energy conscious. Before putting your home on the market, think about some of these upgrades to make it more attractive to Earth-friendly buyers.

#1: High-Tech Efficient Appliances

Appliances make life easier, and we use them every day. Energy efficient technology gets better all the time. Whether it's a refrigerator, range, dishwasher or any other appliance that you intend to leave behind when you sell, upgrading to a new model can pay off.

Just be careful about investing in fashionable appliances. Leaning toward the trendy, which also applies to stainless, can reduce your market. Go with Energy Star rated appliances with more classic looks, such as white, and you'll appeal to more buyers.

#2: Improved Home Insulation

Insulation isn't sexy at all, but it can make a huge difference in heating and cooling bills as well as comfort all year long. An insulation upgrade makes the home less likely to take on heat in summer and lose it in winter. That means less energy wasted and less strain on the HVAC system.

More attic insulation is nearly always a good thing, says Realty Times, and that's the best place to start. From there, look at insulating areas such as behind window and door trim and also sealing up air leaks using caulk to make the home envelope tighter.

#3: Energy Efficient HVAC

Any heating or cooling equipment that's approaching 10 years old is almost ready for the retirement home. It won't be long before the unit either needs extensive repairs or replacement altogether, and that's a big risk for buyers to take on. Replacement is a major expense, but buyers find the peace of mind attractive.

You can swap an existing system for a newer and more efficient one like it, or you might consider going a different direction. Some of the new high-velocity and mini-split heating and cooling systems are worlds more efficient and effective than anything that was on the market the year your existing heat system was born.

A high-tech thermostat is a cool tech gadget that also saves energy and money.

#4: Programmable or Smart Thermostat

An ordinary thermostat was an amazing improvement over what existed before forced-air systems, which was nothing. Well, nothing besides adding less fuel to a heat stove, boiler or fireplace and opening a window to let out some heat. Now programmable thermostats let homeowners select heating and cooling temperatures for different times of day and different days of the week, which can make a major dent in energy consumption.

Take that a step further, and you've got the new smart thermostats. Nest is the one getting most of the attention and the highest ratings in efficiency and convenience, but Honeywell, Ecobee and Sensi manufacture smart thermostats, too. These thermostats have different features, such as learning your habits, adjusting for vacations, and working remotely so that you can control your system away from home.

#5: Windows with Low Emissivity Glass

At their worst, windows take on heat in summer and let it escape in winter. Homeowners have worked tirelessly throughout generations to find new and better ways to control it, and low-emissivity (low-e) glass is a big breakthrough. Low-e glass reflects UV rays away but lets visible light through, which means rooms aren't dark. It also reflects heated air back into the room in winter instead of letting it pass through.

Replacement windows are a major investment, even though you can probably recoup a lot of it when the home sells. But if it's out of your budget, permanent low-e window film is another option. A professional installs this film - it's not a DIY job - and it becomes a permanent, energy-conserving part of the glass that won't peel or wash off.

Twenty years ago, a garden bathtub and 4-foot-wide separate shower were a great selling point of any house. But energy efficient upgrades are the new wave of the future in real estate. Younger generations insist on it, and everyone can appreciate it, and Lamacchia Realty says it can give you a major edge over the competition.

Every home owner wants the highest value possible when putting real estate on the market. Upgrades are a common way to get it, and some are worth more than others. To learn what your home is worth today, let eppraisal give you a free property valuation. You'll learn what your home is worth plus how it compares to others in the area.