It’s all eco friendly or sustainable products these days it seems. But far from being an outdated marketing trend, the idea of eco-friendly design or sustainable construction is truly building for the future. Due to high average temperatures and low-lying coastlines, the impact on Southeast Asia in the coming years is likely to be more extreme than the rest of the world.
Society is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of environmentally friendly architecture and interior design. As a result, more and more customers want to incorporate sustainability principles into their interior design. Interior designers have a significant impact on environmental sustainability as they decide what materials and products to use and how people interact ecologically with the spaces around them.
You see, with so many different aspects of it, sustainable interior design often gets a poor package because for most people it creates an overwhelming sense of uncertainty that leads to a never-ending road to unknown. From its design and construction to its layout, furniture, and even how it is organized. Yes, sustainable interior design is an all-encompassing idea to create a home you never want to leave. From the materials you choose when designing your home to the way your family lives in this space.
Because in order to design homes sustainably the right way, we need to think about the big picture. We need to think about the whole family first. By following these sustainable interior design principles, designers can reduce society’s negative environmental impact and build a better, more sustainable future.
Table of Contents
Sustainable Interior Design #1: Energy Efficiency
Before you design a new home or remodel an existing home, consider investing in energy efficiency. You’ll save energy and money, and your home will be more comfortable and durable. The planning process is also a good time to look into renewable energy systems that can provide electricity, hot water, or space heating and cooling.
Energy consumption is one of the main factors contributing to climate change. Buildings cause the majority of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions from energy consumption. Architects and interior designers can do many things to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. Primarily appliances for heating and lighting, they reduce energy consumption by using renewable, non-carbon-based energy to power the building.
Heating and lighting are the two most important factors an interior designer can control. Most of the heat in a building escape through windows, so it is important that the windows you install are of good quality and have good insulation. Curtains and drapes block both the cold air and the heat of the sun. Curtains, blinds and draperies allow occupants to open and close them as needed to control building temperature in an energy efficient manner.
If you plan to design and build a new home or make a large-scale renovation of an existing home, optimizing home energy efficiency requires a whole-house systems approach to ensure that you and your team of building professionals consider all the variables, details, and interactions that can impact Energy usage in your home.
You can do a lot to save energy in your lighting just by choosing the right colours. Light colours reflect more light, and rooms with dark walls and furniture require more artificial lighting. Use reflective surfaces to increase the amount of light in a room through reflection and reduce your reliance on artificial light.
Carpet is an excellent insulator. A single rug is said to retain up to 10% of the heat in a room. Install home automation and “green devices” that can remotely control heating and lighting systems. This also helps residents and residents use building energy more efficiently and sparingly.
Sustainable Interior Design #2: Low Environmental Impact
An environmental impact is a change in the natural or built environment, directly caused by an activity, that may adversely affect the air, land, water, fish and wildlife, or the inhabitants of the ecosystem. Pollution, pollution or damage that occurs as a result of actions, which may have short- or long-term effects, is considered an environmental impact.
One thing to note is that when it comes to sustainable homes, we often talk about a “carbon footprint.” Basically, it’s a way of creating or running the resources or emissions needed for a particular object, device, or material used in your home.
In energy-dependent societies, the primary impact of concern often comes from our energy use. Burning hydrocarbons such as coal and oil to provide us with useful energy results in the emission of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Other harm-causing activities include improper waste disposal of water bodies and soils, accidental releases of chemicals, increased demand for resources as population increases due to consumerism, and more.
From a sustainability point of view, it is important to choose materials and products that have the lowest environmental impact. Organic materials such as wood, wool and natural stone may seem obvious, but we must remember that we must use natural resources responsibly. Choose fast-growing materials (such as fast-growing bamboo) and harvest in an environmentally responsible manner. There are labels, standards and certifications that provide reliable information about product origin and help identify environmentally friendly products. For example, the FSC seal on wood products ensures that the wood used in the products is sustainably harvested.
The environmental impacts of materials and products must be assessed throughout their lifecycle, from extraction, production, transportation, processing to end-of-life disposal. There are standardized tools and labels to help designers understand, compare, and assess the environmental impact of different stages of a product’s life cycle, such as Life Cycle Assessment.
Most adverse environmental impacts are also directly related to public health and quality of life issues. Several successful reductions in pollution levels have been attributed to stricter regulations, including carbon monoxide levels and recent reductions in fine particulate matter.
Sustainable Interior Design #3: Longevity and Flexibility
In general, the lifespan of buildings based on building materials varies from 30 to 50 years to hundreds of years for structures such as cathedrals, churches and government buildings. The longest-lived building materials are wood, brick, stone, concrete, steel and iron. Of course, the skills and techniques used by the craftsmen and builders who develop the structure all play a vital role.
To prevent materials and products from being thrown away too often, interior designers should consider the longevity of the materials they plan to use, especially frequently used elements such as furniture and flooring. The goal of long-lasting design is to create timeless spaces that last and resist the urge to change the entire design every few years. The best way to achieve timelessness is choose quality over quantity, classic over style, simplicity or functionality over decoration.
But over the years people have grown and changed. They want the space around them to grow with them and reflect those changes. Hence, you should consider how it can be adapted to your needs. Designing flexible spaces is one of the keys to longevity. You don’t have to tear down and renovate everything when you can easily replace or adjust individual elements of the room.
Serviceability is an important part of long-life design. If the space is difficult to maintain, regular changes are inevitable, leading to more resource consumption and waste. Installing a flexible element inside facilitates internal maintenance.
The bulky nature of carpet creates collection and disposal problems for solid waste operations, and the variety of materials present in carpet makes it difficult to recycle. Buyers can make informed decisions about eco-friendly rugs by considering a variety of attributes, from environmental marketing claims used to manufacture and install rugs to material usage guidelines to recycling and disposal issues. Modular carpeting, for example, allows you to effectively replace worn parts rather than the entire carpet.
Maintaining a space with lots of easy-to-clean materials and surfaces means fewer cleaning supplies, which are often unfriendly to the environment. So, investing in components that are strong, durable and easy to clean and replace means less refurbishment work is required. Therefore, less waste is generated. Being able to save on cleaning and maintenance costs is an added bonus.
Most buildings are built with a clear function and are generally not suitable for major renovations. While a building’s current use is important to builders, it’s also important to understand the lifespan of various building materials and systems, as they can help designers and owners plan for future renovations.
Sustainable Interior Design #4: Waste Reduction
Interior designers have great power when it comes to reducing waste, but they also have a great responsibility to act sustainably. The planet’s precious resources are finite, and the idea of discarding obsolete products and replacing them with new ones is unsustainable.
Chances are, your business’s waste disposal and waste management services are not as cost-effective or comprehensive as they should be. By adopting a waste management program that focuses on reducing the amount of waste generated and reusing and recycling recyclable materials, your business can save money and become more environmentally friendly.
Luckily, the design community is increasingly aware of the need for sustainable thinking and is paying more and more attention to sustainability trends like recycling, upcycling and reusing. Designers can find creative ways to give it new life rather than throw it away while it’s still usable.
Recycling programs are key to reducing waste disposal costs, reducing the amount of waste a business generates and reusing valuable materials. Ask your local recycling center for a recycling bin and promote awareness to people around about the necessary recycling facts and procedures. When you reuse and recycle materials, you reduce the need for new material production, which is great for the environment.
Analyzing your waste generation provides you with valuable data that can help you reduce waste. Track and document your waste generation to determine where you can reduce costs and how best to implement a recycling program. Once you understand how much waste is generated from your renovation or design of your house, you can identify areas where you can reduce the purchase, production, and use of materials that cannot be reused or recycled, and experiment with sustainable waste reduction programs.
Interior designers reduce the consumption of natural resources by choosing synthetic materials that are made from recycled waste or that can be renewed or recycled at the end of their life cycle rather than sent directly to landfills. This cradle-to-cradle approach creates a production cycle that effectively reduces or eliminates waste by turning waste into new products.
Sustainable Interior Design #5: Healthy Environments
People spend most of their time indoors, whether at the office, at work, or at home. Environmental health is often said to be an interior designer’s top priority and there are several factors to consider when trying to design a healthy space, including air quality, heating, ventilation, lighting and acoustics.
According to WHO, indoor air pollution is a risk factor for several of the world’s leading causes of death, including heart disease, pneumonia, stroke, diabetes and lung cancer. Indoor air pollution is caused by products and materials that emit high levels of pollutants. For example, furniture and appliances treated with harmful chemicals can release dangerous toxins into the air. Therefore, designers have to look for materials with low emissions of volatile organic compounds and other air pollutants.
The positive impact our natural environment has on our health has been scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tone,
even produces stress hormones. This has highlighted why we design our home (both interior and exterior) from an intentional place and the importance of making decisions carefully. Realize that every decision we make leaves its mark on Mother Nature.
To improve indoor air quality, it is important to circulate the indoor air regularly and keep it fresh. Did you know that in addition to using plants as natural air filters to improve air quality, carpets and rugs can do the same? Regular sustainable carpet cleaning and vacuuming keeps your indoor climate healthy and free of bacteria and allergens found in dust particles.
Carpets are usually made of good soundproofing materials that help absorb sound vibrations and reduce noise. Therefore, it makes an important contribution to the well-being of its inhabitants.
Exposure to natural light is another aspect of physical and mental health benefits. This is especially important for workplaces where natural light reduces stress and increases productivity. In fact, being surrounded by natural elements or elements that mimic nature often has a calming effect. Biophilic design is design that recognizes the need to incorporate elements of nature into buildings and interiors in order to restore the connection between humans and nature.
In this environment, doors and windows can serve two functions. First of all, if you are committed to building a truly zero carbon home in Singapore, you will either need solar panels to power it or start living in a future without air conditioning. If you choose natural, careful positioning of doors and windows will allow for unobstructed airflow, keeping the home livable even in the blisteringly hottest conditions.
This is a level of awareness that is wrapped up and woven into every decision made. It’s something you’ve willingly invested in building, designing, furnishing, and designing your entire home because it counts. And because when it’s done the right way, it can have a profound, significant and truly transformative impact on our health and well-being.
The growing interest in green buildings has been accompanied by a growing interest in green certification. As a result, many organizations have devised well-respected green building standards and certifications. Some of the most widespread and well-known green building certifications include: LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design; The WELL Building Standard®; The Living Building Challenge™; and Passivhaus or ‘Passive House’.
Sustainable interior design is designed to reduce negative impacts on the environment, people’s health and comfort, thereby improving building performance. The fundamental goals of sustainable development are to reduce the consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize waste, and create healthy, productive environment.
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