Green interior design is a vast term that encompasses many sustainable practices. In my work as an interior designer I try to incorporate as many of these sustainable practices as is realistically possible that are also acceptable to my client while keeping in mind what they are trying to accomplish.
Green interior design encompasses all of these sustainable practices:
- Choosing products which are manufactured, mined, and/or finished with minimal impact on the natural environment or as little impact as is possible within that product line
- Buying from as close a locale to the actual job site as is possible. This green interior design practice reduces the amount
of pollution caused by shipping and the amount of non-renewable fuel used to ship it
- Utilizing installation methods that use less toxic products if a choice is available. Toxic products are products which pollute
the environment themselves or must be produced in a fashion that pollutes
- Choosing paint, furniture, carpeting, wood, and all other furnishings for a home with regard to how much indoor air pollution they emit ongoing after the job is completed
- Making choices that are energy efficient in regard to appliances, and if possible using appliances that do not utilize non-renewable energy sources
- Ensuring that the home itself is energy efficient
- Ensuring that water use is reduced by a home if the project scope allows this consideration
- Using natural products if at all possible at every stage of a project because this in itself almost always reduces the impact on the environment all other things being equal especially if consideration is given to whether or not the product is biodegradable someday when it will be no longer needed
- Choosing furniture that already exists as opposed to purchasing new furniture if the correct object is available in the marketplace pre-owned. This reduces the amount of toxins used in manufacturing, the amount of new wood needed from forests and the amount of waste going to landfills
- Recycling and reusing at every stage of a project
- When using natural products consideration is given to whether or not they come from an easily renewable source, or at the very least that the natural resources are managed in a sustainable manner
- Using durable products whenever possible to lower the possibility of replacement needs thus reducing waste in landfills
- Use in new construction of building products that are recycled whenever possible; if new, formaldehyde-free; and if wood, certified.
Buying locally, helping globally
In regard to the environmentally friendly practice of buying locally when possible in order to reduce pollutants emitted during shipping and the use of fossil fuels in the shipping process, this of course also serves the dual purpose of helping our local economy. When possible I try to find furnishings and finishes that are produced locally or failing that regionally, or certainly made in America, and if all of these attempts fail, I seek products from other countries.
The United States also has higher standards for environmentally safe practices in manufacturing compared to many third world countries. So buying locally also serves to reward companies that do not force workers to work in unsafe environments either with toxic chemicals or in dangerous manufacturing plants. Many factories overseas also are causing more water pollution and other types of pollution as compared to plants in the United States. If I am forced to seek products from overseas markets I then try to utilize products from countries which have environmentally sustaining laws.
Doing business with companies in the U.S. also helps to ensure that fair labor practices are being utilized and workers are not being exploited. This isn’t always directly related to green interior design but I sleep better at night knowing I am not indirectly exploiting people. I also feel better knowing I am doing my part helping to provide good jobs for Americans.
For help with finding green interior design products, see my green interior design board on Pinterest and check back often as this pinboard is updated frequently.
If aid is needed for your green interior design residential project and you are in St. Louis, e-mail me at [email protected] to set up an initial consultation.