Today’s homebuyers are connected—in the office, on the road, and at home. However, what is driving adoption of home-automation technologies? CEA (Consumer Electronics Assn.), www.ce.org, Arlington, Va., says energy efficiency.

The most popular type of home technology installed today offers some form of energy efficiency, according to the association’s Adoption and Usage of Home Automation Technologies study.

In particular, 47% of U.S. households indicate they have a programmable and/or a smart thermostat currently installed in their homes. A majority also expect to purchase additional energy-efficient, home-automation technology at some point in the future.

For homebuilders, the key takeaway is buyers will come to also expect these energy-efficient technology features in the new homes they buy. And with housing starts on the uptick, home-automation technology is something builders might want to consider adding more of in the future.

Kevin Tillman, senior research analyst, CEA, says the rise in housing starts in 2013 has contributed to a steady increase in the overall outlook for home technology, and products that offer energy efficiency are leading the home-technology market, due to the fact this tech can help the homeowner save money in the long run.

In this study, CEA also identified home security as the second most installed type of technology in homes. Consumers are also installing entertainment-based home technologies as well.

Energy-efficient, home-automation technologies continue to advance too. Today, these technologies can offer a lot more than in the past. Tech providers are beginning to incorporate more data analytics into energy devices and appliances.

One example comes in the form of a partnership between iControl Networks, www.icontrol.com, Redwood City, Calif., a provider of home technology, and EcoFactor, www.ecofactor.com, Redwood City, Calif., a provider of home-energy services.

Together, these companies will integrate energy devices and appliances with data analytics about HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) energy usage, which will allow service providers to give the greatest level of energy control and savings to customers.

The data can automate thermostats, as well as other energy-management devices. This access to analytics and data is one of the next big trends for the connected home, and is something homebuyers might be looking for in their next home.

As connected-home technologies advance, builders may want to consider including such features and functionality in new homes. The connected capabilities might be what lead today’s tech-savvy buyers to purchase a new home.