New study shows Americans increasingly more environmentally friendly

Government Secured Entity (GSE) Freddie Mac released its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook survey for September on Monday, revealing a shift in the habits of the average American homebuyer.

Over the past four decades, consumers have been employing greater energy efficiency in their buying habits, whether it involved new houses or cleaner cars.

From 1973 to 2011, energy consumption on average has been reduced by 0.3 percent, with the average utility bill shrinking by 30 percent over the same period, despite increases in the price of gas and electricity.

These trends have increased the affordability of homeownership while making it a more attractive option for potential buyers. Houses haven't necessarily gotten any smaller, but new technology has helped homeowners live in spaces that have less of an impact on the environment.

From 2011 to 2012, home sales in markets across the nation have jumped 8 percent, while the average price of new residential properties have appreciated after bottoming out in 2009. The uptick in housing costs reflect increased demand for appliances and energy conservative technologies that are more expensive on the outset, but save on power costs in the long run.

"A fuel-price spike doesn't pack the same punch it once used to in part because of more efficient use of energy," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac said in a press release.

If you live in an older home and have yet to take advantage of environmentally friendly technology, an energy audit from a home inspection contractor will show you how updating parts of your house can make homeownership more affordable for you.