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Green building prioritizes the environmental impact, occupant health, and resource efficiency (such as energy and water) in new home construction. To promote green building and to standardize what is considered "green," third-party certifying organizations have developed green building programs for both commercial and residential buildings.
Some examples of such programs include LEED for Homes, which is a program through the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the NAHB Green Building Guidelines, which were developed through the National Association of Home Builders.
Green home building programs focus on site design, resource efficiency, energy efficiency, water efficiency, and indoor air quality. Each program is based on a point system, and a project needs to achieve a minimum number of points in each section in order to reach a level of certification as a green home.
However, a building does not have to be certified in order for the homeowner to realize some of the benefits of green; existing homes can also be renovated to meet some or all of these criteria.
One of the most significant factors for homebuyers when making the decision to purchase a green home is the fact that green homes are more energy efficient than conventional homes. The majority of the energy used in the U.S. is derived from non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels, which comprise 85 percent of the country's energy sources.  Oil prices, natural gas prices, coal prices, and energy costs impact homeowners when it comes to heating, cooling, and operating their homes. Rising costs encourage the exploration of alternative energies and increased user efficiencies.
The environmental benefits of reducing the energy requirements of a home include decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide that a home emits. Though harmful carbon dioxide emissions are traditionally associated with automobiles and transportation, the operation of buildings in the United States contribute to 38% of its carbon dioxide emissions.  Reducing such emissions are one way to combat global climate change. 
An increase in energy efficiency and a reduction in the amount of energy needed to heat, cool, and operate a home will benefit the homeowner financially. In new home construction green techniques are used in addition to installing energy-efficient appliances to achieve increased efficiency. Such techniques may include thoroughly sealing the thermal envelope, designing an efficient floor plan, placing the structure on the lot to take advantage of passive solar design, and installing low-e windows, to name a few. Some techniques may be difficult (or impossible) incorporate into an existing structure, or may not realize a return of investment.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented the Energy Star program in 1992, and was joined by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 1995 with the purpose of promoting energy efficient products for money savings and reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases.  This program began as a labeling program for energy efficient products that would allow consumers to more easily identify such products and increase the market for them. There are thousands of Energy Star rated products for sale, including personal electronics, lighting, and major household appliances.  The program has since greatly expanded to include a rating system of the energy usage and leakage of new homes. Energy Star reports that in 2007 alone households and businesses saved $16 billion on utility bills,  and the typical U.S. household can use 30 percent less energy and see a savings of $400 on utility bills for a home that is fully equipped with Energy Star labeled products. 
Similar to energy efficiency, water efficiency refers to reducing the amount of water required to perform tasks, such as washing the dishes or watering the lawn. Water efficiency will help save money on water bills and could prevent water shortages like those that Atlanta experienced. Many communities across the United States are experiencing water shortages, and so green building and programs like WaterSense were implemented in part to address such issues. 
WaterSense is an EPA sponsored program, much like the Energy Star program. This program was implemented to help protect the water supply in the United States and to increase the demand for water efficient products.  Similar to Energy Star, WaterSense features product testing and labeling for those products that meet specified criteria in categories like faucets, showerheads, toilets, and irrigation systems, to list a few. In August of 2008 WaterSense released a Water-Efficient Single-Family New Homes Pilot Program where homebuilders will build new homes to water-efficient standards.
Why go green? Some of the benefits to owning a green home include:
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To encourage consumers to purchase energy efficient appliances, to expand the market for such products, and to decrease the risk of researching new technologies there are rebates available when purchasing energy efficient appliances. Such rebates or tax credits vary by location, but common rebates include:
Water can be saved by altering occupant behaviors and by installing more efficient products:
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