More homeowners than ever want to make their home more energy-efficient. There are two basic reasons for the trend: People want to save money on their monthly electric bill and they hope to reduce their carbon footprint.

Savvy real estate agents can tap into this trend by learning more about the best energy-efficiency upgrades for homes. Below are some of the best ways a homeowner can save on energy costs and care for the planet.

Whether you’re a real estate agent who has just passed your licensing examination or an experienced agent, this information can give your business a boost.

Replace Old Appliances

Homes that are 15 years or older probably could use a more energy-efficient air conditioner or furnace. Most heating systems that are more than 15 years old are fairly inefficient; air conditioners also have improved a lot.

Even some of the less expensive heating and AC systems today are more efficient than 20-year-old systems that were high-end in their day.

Homeowners can also save money by sealing windows and doors and adding new insulation to the attic. Thus, if you have a home listing with an owner who doesn’t want to spend a lot, this tip can be a real money saver at little cost.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

If you get a new home listing, you want to sell the property as quickly as possible. A simple way to make it more marketable in today’s green-friendly market is to advise the homeowner to install a programmable thermostat.

A high-tech thermostat empowers the homeowner to lower the temperature when people are at school or at work. And after the owner programs it, the temperature will adjust automatically without any further attention.

Replace the Roof

The roof takes a beating under the hot summer sun and against cold temperatures in the winter. If it’s more than 15 or 20 years old, replacing the roof with sheet metal or clay can be an excellent investment.

These materials reflect heat instead of absorbing it, and that will keep the spaces below cooler as well as reduce electricity use. If the roof is younger, adding a suitable roof coating can lower your energy bill, too.

Replace Windows

Windows are one of the most common sources of energy waste. Inefficient windows can increase your monthly heating bill by 10-25%.

In contrast, some experts say using Energy Star windows can reduce your electric bill by $100 per year or more. If the home has windows that are more than 20 years old, they’re probably energy-inefficient.

Modern windows, including less expensive models, are typically more energy-efficient than expensive windows more than 20 years old. If the windows don’t need replacing, simply installing storm windows can make single-pane windows less likely to waste energy.

However, if you buy new windows, you should invest in models that have a .22 or .23 u-factor. The lower this number, the better the insulation provided by the window.

Install a Tankless Water Heater

The water heater is a significant consumer of energy. That’s why it can be great for your electric bills to install a tankless water heater, which is more energy-efficient.

Also, these units often last much longer than regular water heaters. Another good option is a condensing, tankless water heater that recycles the exhaust gas, so it heats water faster.

Use Ceiling Fans

Across most of the country, most of us turn on air conditioning in the summer. But with a ceiling fan in each room, you can increase the room temperature by two or three degrees, and it will feel the same.

Also, you can switch the direction of fans in the winter so hot air at the top of the room gets blown downward.

A real estate agent who knows more about energy-efficient upgrades to homes can impress prospective buyers and sellers. That knowledge will help you make more sales.