As markets recover, more Americans are making energy efficient renovations to their homes

According to the Home Trend Design Survey from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the number of homes being remodeled nationwide have reached levels not seen since 2007. However, the types of renovations being applied to houses are starkly different compared to those that were done before the recession.

"We are far removed from the days when there was strong demand for home theaters and saunas. Instead, the last several years have seen consumer priorities based more on practicality, ease, and affordability over luxury,"  said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker in a press release.

According to the survey, the AIA is noticing that the highest number of home renovations pertain largely to increasing a properties energy efficiency. The most popular upgrades involve creating more patio, deck and porch space in houses as installation of centrail air conditioning systems have taken a large dip.

The survey is conducted quarterly and comprises input from 500 architectural firms across the country that focus their efforts on residential design.

The increase in the number of energy efficient renovations coincides with other major rebounds throughout the residential markets. Home sales have been up throughout the year compared to 2011 according to numerous real estate analysts, and there has been a large uptick in the mortgage refinance industry, which has also seen activity reach levels not seen since 2007.

For homeowners considering an upgrade to their property to make it more environmentally friendly, an energy audit from a home inspection contractor should be the first step in the process to highlight where renovations are needed most.