What Does Green Design Mean, Anyway?
December 17, 2013
•General, Interior Design
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What exactly does "going green" mean and why should it matter? Interior designers who practice green or sustainable design are concerned with creating environmentally responsible interior environments. These forward thinking designers create interior design solutions that reflect concern both for the inhabitants' quality of life and the world's ecology.
Would it surprise you to know that we spend approximately 90 percent of our time indoors? Indoor air is often three to five times more polluted than outdoor air. By practicing green design, interior designers contribute to keeping the residential and commercial spaces they create cleaner and healthier.
A client who is an expectant mother may have fresh air in the nursery as her first priority. A family with a child who suffers from asthma may be concerned that only natural materials be used in the design of the home. Preventing toxic building syndrome to ensure peak performance and comfort of employees may be the chief concern of a business owner working with an interior designer on the redesign of office space. A green-certified interior designer creatively and effectively executes design solutions to address these types of concerns.
Another important aspect of green design is the impact it has on the environment. Sustainable interior design is often an overlooked aspect of combating climate change and reducing our carbon footprint. Designing interiors with a focus on green design tasks the designer with identifying and analyzing the most environmentally conscious raw materials, manufacturing methods, transportation, use, and disposal of the furnishings, fixtures, and equipment specified for an interior.
A commitment to sustainable interior design does not mean that aesthetics need to be sacrificed. More and more "green" products are becoming available, including nontoxic paints and finishes, low-impact fabrics, salvaged wood products such as flooring, and recycled content furnishings.
How to Design Green
So how can designers interested in green design become involved? Interior designers who would like to become certified can pursue the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate credential offered through the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Interior design students can also participate in creating green design solutions. The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) sponsors the Student Sustainable Design Competition. Any student currently enrolled in an Interior Design college program can submit an original sustainable interior design project completed within the last year.
Going green is all about the impact that designers have on people and the environment. Sustainable design is yet another way interior designers can harness their creativity to create solutions that benefit their clients and the planet. By embracing the most current green interior design practices, designers not only contribute to the aesthetic and functional aspects of interiors, they participate in the preservation of the future of our world. That's why it matters to be "keen on green".
Image Source: Flickr.