EPA-certified wood-burning stoves produce an average of 70 percent less particulate emissions than their old, uncertified counterparts. If your stove is more than 20 years old, it's probably time for an update. Find a certified professional who can install your new stove properly (so you get maximum efficiency and minimal pollution) through the National Fireplace Institute(nficertified.org).
The biggest surfaces in your home, such as the floors and walls, affect air quality the most. Consider installing hardwood floors (especially a sustainably harvested wood, such as bamboo) instead of synthetic carpets, which use petrochemicals. If repainting, consider using paints low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or, even better, a natural plaster finish.
Grouped together on a tray and filled with leaves and flowers, weathered bottles and jars make an easy table dressing. Collect your own bottles of various shapes and sizes over time (mustard jars, perfume bottles, and jelly jars all work well) or salvage some for just pennies at thrift stores. Randomly fill some of the containers with leaves and flowers and place them on a serving tray or platter, packing the jars tightly together.
It's becoming easier all the time to find stylish sources for greener furnishings. Q Collection, for instance, a manufacturer of eco-friendly decor, was founded on the principle that serious design need not compromise the environment -- and vice versa. The company uses sustainably grown woods, natural fibers, and recycled glass to produce everything from the club chair at left to accent pillows and lamps.
Single- and even some double-pane clear-glass windows can force heating and cooling systems to work overtime. Energy Star-qualified windows with insulating glazes and gas fills (which improve thermal performance) deliver the best results -- as much as 2,200 pounds of emissions saved.
Computers, cell-phone chargers, and other electronics continue to use power even when you turn them off. Nationally, this creates the annual emissions equivalent of 17 power plants. To simplify, plug items into a power strip that you can use as a master switch to turn off when these appliances are not in use.