If you're thinking of building or remodeling a home-and you're looking to make it as green as it can be-finding the right contractor is essential. According to Natural Home:

"Green" contractors are trained to build and/or design projects that are energy-, water-, and resource-efficient, as well as employing methods to ensure proper indoor ventilation. Unfortunately, most contractors don't have this type of training and aren't sure where to shop for materials.

Your best bet is to find a contractor who has been designated a Master Builder by the Energy and Environmental Building Association, or has been certified by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry as a Certified Remodeler.

If you can't find a certified contractor, but you have someone who is open to working with you on your green dream, you can start off by downloading a copy Green Building: A Primer for Builders, Consumers, and Realtors, now in its sixth edition, for some eco-friendly construction pointers.

Here's are some green-building basics Natural Home says you and your contractor should agree to before you don your hard hats:

1. Reduce quantities of building materials, resources, and energy.

2. Reuse structurally sound construction materials.

3. Recycle materials as much as possible.

4. Renewable building materials and energy sources are preferred.

::Natural Home

See also: ::Green Your Home For Savings: More Than We Previously Predicted and ::Fix Your House to Go Green, Not to Make Money

Difficulty level: Moderate