The energy efficient home improvement trend is picking up steam. More homeowners are turning toward upgrades that generate electricity, save money and turn a whole house "green." 

If a home inspection before buying or selling spots any energy-related problems, a number of people might want to consider these types of upgrades, in order to raise equity and make a property more attractive for potential buyers. 

Growing trend of solar panels

Many homebuilders across the country are seeing a rising demand for solar panels, according to Bloomberg. Similar to the increase in popularity for the granite countertop, this housing trend is quickly becoming commonplace for residential properties. 

In California, two towns are making solar panels a mandatory installation, the news source reported. Jim Peterson, CEO of roofing and solar contractor PetersonDean, Inc., explained to Bloomberg about the uptick in homeowners going green.

"In the next six months, homebuilders in California and the expensive-energy states will be going solar as a standard, and just incorporating it into the cost of the house like any other feature," Peterson told the news source.

The decision might be made easier because of the frequency with which owners are combining the financial impact with their mortgages and reducing costs, Bloomberg reported. Tom Werner, CEO of SunPower, told the news source that where solar panels were once a novelty, they are now akin to granite countertops when it comes to popularity, and could soon become a mainstream option for real estate.

Regardless of whether or not a homeowner has a solar panel, energy-efficiency is very important. A home inspection could help identify any leaks or flaws that are both jeopardizing the house and the residents' wallets. 

Tips for making energy changes

While not every upgrade needs to be as drastic as adding solar panels, there are several things homeowners could do in order to save money and make a property a little greener. 

Adam Prince of ZeroEnergy Design explained to AOL Real Estate about creating a smart plan for making any changes, performing simple fixes now and preparing for expenses later. 

"If an opportunity arises, you'll be ready," Prince told the news source. "Think ahead about your decisions to improve your building shell, systems, appliances, lighting, and possibly add renewable energy. Having an energy plan in place will help avoid snap decisions and instead make the right decision - for example, if your refrigerator breaks, if the roof needs replacement, or if you are about to finish the basement."

A property inspection, before buying or selling real estate, is an intelligent move to figure out where problems lie, and what can be done about them. One of the easiest changes to a home people could make is changing light bulbs, the news source noted. A number of brands sell energy-efficient types that have the same affect for a room, and the savings could add up regarding the monthly utility bills with this switch.

In addition, a home inspection could help spot issues with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Any inefficient components here could become serious energy drains. Therefore, homeowners should perform regular maintenance, such as changing out air filters, according to AOL Real Estate.

When potential buyers are shopping for a home, many older ones could come with out-of-date appliances. While this may seem like a perk, with one less item to buy after moving in, new homeowners should replace old fridges, dishwashers and other appliances, the news source reported. Most newer models are more energy-friendly, and can save on water use and electricity. 

For every homeowner, a property inspection is a great idea to figure where problems exist, especially concerning energy. Simple fixes are often easy solutions for upgrading a house and saving money in the long run.