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3 Ways to Go Green and Stick to Your Budget

July 11, 2013 General 0 Comments

Green FurnitureMany people thought going green was just a trend. But, as it continues to make its way into the mainstream, it is clear that the green movement is here to stay.

Even today’s homeowners can agree. According to Sarah Max report for CNN Money, homeowners who decide to go green when they are constructing, remodeling or designing the interior of their home can increase their home’s energy efficiency and save money. Going green may also improve your family’s health, as traditional building and interior design products have been known to contain harmful chemicals that pollute the air inside your home.

For Interior Design, these three tips allow you to go green while sticking to your budget. Though some design changes may be more expensive than others, it may be worth it to your homeowners in the long run. Read to see if you agree:

Flooring

Flooring has the potential to be the most expensive adjustment to your design plan – but, it can also have the biggest impact.

Traditional wood flooring products come directly from trees, which take years to regenerate. The harvesting practices of most flooring companies have done irreversible damage to our forests, ecosystems and the environment in general.

If your homeowner is insist on having wood flooring, consider these eco-friendly options suggested by Accent Building Products’ reporter Kelli Cooper:

  • FSC Products: Look for flooring products with the Forest Stewardship label. The companies associated with this organization have undergone a rigorous review and certification process to ensure that they practice good harvesting. Their techniques are more sustainable and have a smaller impact of the environment.
  • Bamboo: A fast-growing, highly sustainable grass that offers an interesting alternative to traditional wood flooring products. Bamboo does not require pesticides and it is resistant to both mold and mildew. Furthermore, it is just as hard as its traditional wooden counterparts. Check the manufacturer to make sure they do not use toxic adhesives, which could have long-term side effects on your health and your home environment.
  • Cork: Similar to bamboo, cork is highly sustainable. It grows back quickly because the tree does not need to be cut down; the material for the flooring is taken from the bark.

There are also eco-friendly carpeting options available. Have your homeowner look at carpets made with recycled fibers or renewable materials, such as sisal or wool. Also consider products from carpeting companies that use natural or toxin-free dyes.

Lastly, the kitchen and bathroom are great opportunities to recycle glass or ceramic tiles. Homeowners may be surprised at the number of options they have in these areas as many companies offer more green-friendly design choices.

Furniture

There are many opportunities for interior designers to recycle or repurpose furniture and other decorations. Though homeowners may want to see most of their furniture go, suggest re-staining, painting or reupholstering it instead.

Interior designer David Mann says that his team is “putting everything from chairs and tables to bookcases and cabinets to new use.” Mann is also trying to buy furniture at local stores and manufacturers. Buying locally reduces long-distance shipping, which can put harmful emissions into the air. Buying locally can also help you save money for your homeowner – look at resale stores for reduced items that may need some simple repairs or updates.

If your homeowner is insistent on getting new furniture, ask them to donate their old furniture to organizations that recycle or repurpose furniture such as Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore Store.

Paint

Talk to your owner about less toxic paint options. This can dramatically impact their home environment. Max noted that “indoor air can be two to five times more polluted” than outdoor air because of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in paints, stains and glues. Though low VOC paint and natural stains may cost a few extra dollars, the investment may save your homeowners from permanently damaging their lungs.

Interior designer Eric Cohler recommends Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint collection. It has lower VOCs, making it less toxic and more home-friendly.

The value in going green is undeniable. Though it may seem more expensive initially, the design choices may save homeowners money in the long run. Consider how green innovation may impact your studies as you continue your degree program at Harrington College of Design.

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