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What is Sustainable Design?

Sustainability is to eliminate negative environmental effects.  As a result, terms like eco-friendly design, eco-design, and environmentally conscious design can be jointly applied to it. While designing and decorating your home, sustainable practices  can improve your carbon footprint. We can list the following as important objectives of sustainable designs:

  • Minimize waste
  • Create a solid healthy environment
  • Reduce the utilization of non-renewable assets

The thought of a green design is not synonymous with sustainable design. The core lies in making designs which will address current issues while recognizing and considering the outcomes people in the future may experience.

All in all, sustainable design is a long-term approach to ecological protection. The fundamental objectives of sustainability are to

  • diminish the utilization of non-renewable resources,
  • minimize waste,
  • make productive environments.

Sustainable design is such a complex and relevant subject this year. This guide gives various interior design tips for improving the environmental sustainability of your home.

Key Markers to Sustainable Interior Design

1.         Energy Efficient Design

Energy consumption is one of the significant contributors to environmental change. Buildings are responsible for a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions, caused by energy consumption. Architects and interior designers can improve a building’s energy efficiency, mainly by decreasing the measure of the energy required for heating, lighting, running appliances, etc., and by providing renewable, non-carbon-based energy to the building.

Interior designers have influence mainly over heating and lighting. Since most of the heat in the building escapes through windows, the installed windows must be of high quality and provide good insulation. Curtains and drapes should be selected and designed in a way that they keep both cold air and the sun’s heat outside. By opening and shutting window coverings, blinds, or shades, one can control the temperature inside the house in an energy-efficient way. Carpets are excellent thermal insulators. They can retain as much as 10% of a room’s heat.

Picking the right colors, for example, lighter colors which reflect more light, will save energy efficiently. In contrast, rooms with darker walls and furnishing need more artificial lighting. Use reflective surfaces to increase the amount of light in a room. This will  decrease dependency on artificial lighting.

Eco-friendly lighting
artificial lighting (By pardehara)

So-called ‘’green gadgets’’ or home automation, makes it possible to control heating and lighting systems remotely. The home automated lighting systems, such as dimmers are perfect for areas like dining and living rooms where you want to regulate the lighting output.

Eco-friendly interior
’green gadgets (By Coca’s Furniture)

2. Waste Reduction Management

When it comes to waste reduction, interior designers to act responsibly for sustainability. The limited resources of the planet are valuable. Therefore, discarding products once out of style and replacing them with current trends is no longer justifiable.

Waste management
Waste management (By wickbold)

The increasing awareness of the need for sustainable thinking has led to recycling, up-cycling, and repurposing. Instead of discarding them, using old-fashioned yet still functional objects is becoming the new normal. Opting for synthetic materials that were made from recycled waste or possibly renewed/recycled at the end of their life cycle could reduce the depletion of resources. With this approach, waste becomes the raw material for new products. This creates a circular loop of manufacturing, which in turn effectively minimizes or even eliminates waste.

3.         Durability and Flexibility in Design

When interior designers are planning to avoid the materials and products getting discarded the lifespan of any material should be considered. Specifically, in terms of those elements that experience a lot of wear and tear.

Flexible eco friendly interior
Flexible eco friendly interior (By thearchitectureinsight)

Interior designers should consider the flexibility of spaces. That is the need to adapt to the changing needs of people who are using them. The keys to longevity are to design flexible spaces and achieve timelessness. Furthermore, the designer should choose quality over quantity, classics over trendy, and simplicity/functionality over embellishments.

Innovation adds in a lot of options such as walls that can be modified, adjustable and modular furniture to fit the needs of a modern workplace (work from home being the new normal), modular flooring that allows personalization, etc.

4. Reducing Environmental Impact

Eco-friendly bamboo interior
Bamboo interior (By home-designing)

Materials and products with the lowest environmental impact are the most important pick in order to go green. You must not forget responsible treatment of natural resources when it comes to organic materials such as wood, wool and natural stone, which seem to be an obvious choice. For a conscious living, you can opt for renewable materials, such as bamboo, which are extracted responsibly too.

5. Health Eco-system Design

Since people spend most of their time indoors these days, several factors should be considered when it comes to designing healthy interiors. For example, the quality of the air, heating, ventilation, lighting, and acoustics.

The root cause of indoor air pollution is products and materials with high levels of toxic emissions. For instance, furniture or equipment treated with harmful chemicals release dangerous toxins in the air. Materials with low emissions of VOC (volatile organic compounds) and other air pollutants are more favorable when it comes to indoor air quality.

Kitchen garden
Gardening in kitchen (kitchenstudioofnaples., n.d.,)

Plants are a great source when it comes to the proper circulation of air to keep it fresh and acts as natural air filters. So do carpets. Carpets improve air quality by trapping the dust particles, germs, and allergens from the air and hold them until vacuumed. Carpets are also excellent sound insulators. They help in reducing noise by absorbing sound vibrations.

As a result of the pandemic, interior trends would go around keeping the occupants the ‘feel of outside inside’! Since exposure to natural light is another beneficial aspect for both physical and psychological health, this would become necessary. It is especially for homes and other work-related areas in the house, since natural light reduces stress and increases productivity.

Being surrounded by nature has a calming effect in general. The main focus of Biophilic design is to include natural elements inside our buildings and interiors to restore the connection between humans and nature.

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