U.S. lenders aren't yet offering lending incentives for borrowers taking steps to reduce their energy footprint with homeownership. But attitudes are slowly starting to change, catching the U.S. to other countries that do offer important credits for "green" upgrades:

Bipartisan legislation is pending in the Senate — the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (SAVE) Act — that would require Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration and other federal mortgage players to revise their rules to better recognize and reward energy savings.

More than 125 local Realtor multiple-listing services across the country are helping out by including so-called “green fields” in their online listing information displays. The green fields allow sellers, buyers, realty agents and appraisers to describe energy improvements or special certifications that a property offers, such as high-performance windows and doors, heavy-duty insulation, Energy Star appliances, along with solar, geothermal and other features.