According to the U.S. Green Building Council, in order for a home to be considered "green," some important factors are a suitable location, relatively small size, the use of environmentally-friendly building materials, and energy efficient design. Insulation should be non-toxic, and windows and doors should be Energy Star rated.
For a home to be "green," it must be designed to have as little impact on the environment as possible. When selecting a site for a green home, experts recommend choosing an area that has already been developed and building the smallest house that meets your needs. Selecting a site near public transportation will further reduce energy use by allowing the occupants to take advantage of mass travel.
When designing the home, it should be orientated to take advantage of natural heating and cooling from the sun and wind. Landscaping, like a large shade tree, can also be used to provide extra insulation from the elements and reduce heating and cooling needs. Inside the home, select only renewable building materials, such as bamboo flooring. Often, salvaged building materials are an even better alternative because they eliminate the raw material and energy needs of manufacturing new ones. Water efficiency is another important factor in a green home. Look for kitchen and bathroom fixtures designed for low water use. Systems that capture and store rainwater for later use are also popular in green homes.