The demand for green interiors is rising as environmental consciousness becomes more prevalent in our country. Sustainable interior design incorporates materials and plans intended to minimize environmental impact and conserve natural resources. The goal is to offer homeowners a way to respond to the issues affecting all consumers—rising energy costs, declining air quality, clean water scarcity and overconsumption. It is now even easier to find products and materials that have a positive effect on the environment and health and safety throughout their lifecycle; from sourcing, processing, assembly, installation and use, to maintenance and end-of-life disposal. Advances in home technology have brought about the opportunity for increased energy savings as well. If you are looking to bring sustainable interior design into your next home remodel or new build, we encourage you to work with an educated and committed architect, home builder, landscape architect and designers, or interior designer who can lead you to these types of design, products and materials.
Below we offer some ideas for bringing sustainable interior design into your home:
1) Minimize energy consumption by using energy efficient construction. Install high R value insulation and quality energy efficient windows, LED lighting and appliances. Look for products that offer not only energy efficiency, but have a long lifecycle as well so your items will end up in a landfill infrequently.
2) Control energy usage through items such as programmable thermostats, load-sensing washers, and shower heads and toilets that govern the amount of water. We encounter many homeowners who have had negative experiences with low-flow fixtures in the past. Fortunately, new products with better technology manage to protect the environment without having to sacrifice functionality and comfort.
3) Incorporate environmentally preferred products, such as those that come from salvaged items or are made with recycled content. Look for companies that source and process their products using low environmental impact methods, such as sustainably harvested lumber. To protect your indoor air quality, use low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) paints and other products, as well as carpets and rugs made of wool instead of synthetics.
4) Purchase durable products and home furnishings that offer a longer lifecycle. Buying poor quality furniture means it will end up in a landfill much more quickly. Invest in materials that can be repurposed or refurbished. A high-quality sofa can be reupholstered and a well-made dining table can be refinished when your style changes. Another key to purchasing for extended use is to look for classic looks and silhouettes that stand the test of time while providing you the freedom to update through fabrics and other details.
5) One environmental factor many homeowners forget to consider is how far their products and materials have to travel to get to them. Transportation uses resources, so the closer the source, the less energy consumed. For example, Italian marble requires many more resources to bring to Indianapolis than Indiana limestone.
6) Don’t forget the outside of your home! There are many environmentally-friendly landscaping choices as well, such as using native plants that support the local ecology and planning for natural weed control.
We feel the National Association of Home Builders says it best:
“Sustainability and high-performance building are important to the home building industry, consumers and the nation because it promotes lower total ownership costs through utility savings and increased durability as well as an improved indoor living environment. It also encourages environmental awareness and stewardship and more efficient use of increasingly scarce resources and helps to conserve them for future generations.”
Even if you are not undertaking a new build or remodeling project, you can bring sustainable interior design into your home at every life stage, inside and out. For more information, send us an email or give us a call at 317-253-8986.