What do home buyers want? More than ever, it’s sustainability.

Which home you buy depends on a host of considerations, many of which have everything to do with emotion—with the “feel” of the house and how you imagine yourself living in it. More and more, however, a very practical reason is rising in importance for homebuyers. According to a new report from the National Association of Realtors, sustainability is a feature that more and more buyers insist upon.

And why not, really? Buy an energy-efficient home, and you see the benefits every month. In fact, a Touchstone Energy Home can cut your energy bills nearly in half. You save money while you live there, and you likely earn a higher resale value (plus a quicker sale) when you’re ready to move. Additionally, when you’re buying a Touchstone Energy Home, you may be able to qualify for a bigger mortgage than you would for a standard home. That’s no small draw, either.

“We’ve known the benefits of the Touchstone Energy Home standards for a long time,” said Laura Matney, POWER MOVES program manager, “but it’s great to see that home buyers are getting excited about energy efficiency, too. They’ll see a big difference in their bills, and also in how comfortable they are at home, which makes it a win-win.”

Part of the change toward efficiency may be simply a generational shift: The biggest category of homebuyers at present is Generation Y, or buyers who are in their 20s and 30s and comprise 31 percent of the market. They’re followed closely by Generation X at 30 percent.

A house is the biggest investment most people ever make. You want the one that fits your life, of course, and finding or building one that also gives you a great return when you sell is no small thing. People go to great lengths to make their homes look attractive to buyers. What those buyers most get excited about may no longer be what they can see but hidden details like the high R-value insulation tucked into the walls—details that show up on their utility bills.

Check out the report summary on EcoBuildingPulse.com to see which factors in particular buyers really go for.