Sustainable design is becoming more and more sought after. The reason for this is the desire to reduce the carbon footprint and the negative impacts on the environment. Utilizing sustainable design also improves building performance by reducing negative impacts on the health and comfort of building occupants. Using renewable and sustainable resources dramatically minimizes waste, providing healthier and productive environments.
Sustainable lighting is lighting designed with energy efficient light sources. Can we agree that the most sustainable light source is sunlight? This means that, when it comes to lighting, the next most effective sources are solar powered panels, lamps, etc. With that being said, solar energy is hit or miss in different parts of the world. Some places are overwhelmed with the amount of sunlight throughout the year while others might not see sun for more than 3 hours a day, depending on the time of year and geographical location. Since solar cannot be the sole lighting option, another way to reduce energy consumption is using LED lights. Effectively replacing incandescent lighting with LED lighting could reduce energy consumption by fifty percent or more. That is truly incredible.
This seems to be the most popular of the sustainable flooring options, but where do you get it? Reclaimed wood comes from salvaging old wood from sources such as old buildings, homes, wine barrels, and of course fallen trees. As of late, the reclaimed/recycled wood design has been skyrocketing throughout homes and places of business. It gives the space a more rustic and eclectic feel. Not to mention, using this type of flooring provides the designer and client a sense of accomplishment. Another great thing about using reclaimed wood is the possibility to receive LEED certification because the wood meets the Materials & Resources criteria.
Bamboo flooring is a fast-growing and renewable wood source. Some awesome qualities of bamboo is that it is water resistant, anti-bacterial and extremely durable. Though it is more expensive than laminate flooring, it is more cost efficient than installing traditional wood flooring. If you’re going to be using bamboo, remember this tip, make sure that you install bamboo with natural-base adhesives instead of any other type. Other adhesives will not be as sustainable due to a material called formaldehyde in the adhesive.
For carpet to be considered sustainable, it must be made of materials such as cotton, sisal, wool, jute, coconut husk, etc. Some companies out there, but very few, can recycle nylon carpets and make completely new carpets, so find a good one. Not only is that incredibly useful, it helps reduce the amount of materials that need to be sent to a landfill. When installing this carpet, as said with the bamboo, make sure to use natural-base adhesives for the same reason.
These are only a couple of ways to incorporate sustainable materials into your interior design. It is up to you to make it as green and energy efficient as you can afford. Keep this in mind, recycling and finding other ways to decorate with environmentally friendly options will benefit you and the entire world in the long run.