Americans spend about 90 per cent of their time indoors, because of this interior designers are experiencing a rapid change in client commitment to creating sustainable indoor environments.
Client expectations have increased when it comes to designs that guarantee the built environment and its interiors to promote improved human health and well-being, and products being sourced that support renewable energy, efficient lighting and water solutions.
An abundance of new technology is further supporting sustainable initiatives through commercial ratings like LEED and Energy Star, with the residential market following the same path to make more climate conscious decisions about their indoor environment.
Clients expect optimized energy performance and water efficiency measures in all new buildings and homes.
Indoor air quality and temperature strongly depend on outdoor air quality, weather and ventilation. The use of houseplants is being taken to a new level with green living walls, which are being used to absorb toxins caused by volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde and phthalates found extensively in carpets, finishes, furniture, furnishings, and window treatments. Indoor plants not only help to improve indoor air quality, they also contribute to human well-being and have shown to improve productivity and performance in the workplace and at home.
According to the American Lung Association, common indoor air pollutants such as radon, molds, pet dander, pollen, lead dust and asbestos are just a small fraction of the agents that can cause health risks. The Environmental Protection Agency lists poor indoor air quality as the fourth largest environmental threat to the United States.
The sustainability trend has evolved because of the concept of reuse, which is now known as up-cycling. Up-cycling is becoming more important to consumers whose focus has changed from the need for new and replaceable products to quality and hand made products.
Interior design shouldn’t be trend driven. Finishes and furniture should last a long time so they don’t need to be replaced regularly. Products that have honest sustainable credentials should only be used. Human health and the environment are at the core of the sustainable mission, moving toward ethical interior design will help promote economic and social growth while contributing to a healthier world.
To make a design truly sustainable, products should be sourced from local areas. By using sustainable woods that are farmed within a country where the project is being built, as well as, reducing waste and keeping an eye on water and energy consumption as achievable solutions.
Sustainable design, more than ever, needs to be at the forefront of all interior projects globally and we greatly need to correct the way we produce and consume.