greenhouse_webConsumers consider environmental efficiency as a factor when buying a home. Are the appliances energy efficient? Are the home’s heating and cooling systems designed to cut energy costs?

According to the 2009 Illinois Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 69 percent of buyers said energy-efficient appliances are important environmentally friendly features in the home; 65 percent said energy-efficient lighting is an important feature.

So being eco-friendly is on homebuyers’ minds. How does the U.S. stack up when it comes to being environmentally conscious overall?  There’s room for improvement, according to an Environmental Performance Index (EPI) conducted by Yale University and Columbia University.

The 2008 project looked at 149 countries, grading them on a scale of 0 to 100 (with 100 being the best) on things such as air pollution, water resources and environmental health. How did the U.S. score? 39th, far behind countries such as Switzerland, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Colombia and France. You can read more about the eco-friendly rankings at

By making their home more energy efficient, homeowners can not only make their homes more attractive to potential buyers but also earn some tax breaks for themselves. Check out the Energy Star program to learn more about federal tax credits available to  homeowners who make buy an energy-efficient product or renewable energy systems.