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February 28, 2007

Seven Tips for Creating Eco-Fabulous Interiors

Use these ideas from the National Resources Defense Council to help turn any space into a stylish, inviting and eco-friendly venue, whether you're remodeling a home or designing for a special event.

1. Decorate with Plants
Plants can act as natural air filters, removing harmful chemicals like benzene and carbon monoxide from the indoor air. And they look great too, giving your home a more natural and vibrant feel. The best plants for improving indoor air quality include the peace lily, bamboo palm and gerbera daisy.

2. Maximize Daylight
Maximizing daylight -- through skylights, open shades, and south-facing windows -- substitutes electrical lighting with the natural light of the sun, saving money and preventing the emission of air pollutants and greenhouse gases.


3. Use Energy Efficient Lighting
Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs use a third of the energy of regular incandescent bulbs and last up to ten times longer. Replacing a traditional incandescent bulb with a CFL can save you more than $30 over the lifetime of the bulb and prevent the emission of air pollutants and greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Look for the Energy Star label.

4. Choose FSC Wood Products
Much of the wood that we buy comes from unsustainable operations in endangered forests, including the Canadian Boreal, Cumberland Plateau, and the rainforests of Borneo. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the only credible international certification organization for sustainably harvested wood and wood products. Look for the FSC label.

5. Select Efficient Windows
Windows are a significant source of heat loss in the winter and unwanted heat in the summer. Energy-efficient windows are lined with special coatings that reflect heat and provide superior insulation, keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Efficient windows save money on reduced heating and cooling bills and prevent the emission of greenhouse gases. Look for the Energy Star label.

6. Opt for Low VOC Products
Many common household products, including paints, carpets and furniture, emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be harmful to human health. When buying these products, look for those with a low VOC content.

7. Buy Locally
Locally produced products travel fewer miles to their end destination, resulting in less air and global warming pollution from transportation.

Find more green guides in our Green Living section and in the NRDC Action Center

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