If you are creating a home, learning sustainable interior design is something you will need to be conscious of. Though many people do not understand the term ‘sustainable’ or what it means, this does not mean it is not an important topic for all homeowners. Whether you are looking to build a new home or simply want to incorporate sustainable interior design into an existing home, making choices that follow sustainable practices is not only good for the environment (which has become a growing concern for many consumers and businesses) but can also help you save money in the long run. Before we get into some of the aspects of sustainable interior design it would be beneficial to learn what exactly sustainability means and why it is so important.
What is sustainable interior design?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, sustainable interior design is defined as “an approach to designing that focuses on minimizing negative environmental impacts through careful use of energy and other resources”. This means that decisions made in terms of materials used for new homes or renovations are conscious of their impact on the environment and take actions to reduce their negative effects (such as recycling materials or using recycled materials instead of new materials).
Sustaining or sustaining design focuses on reducing the impact on the environment by choosing sustainable interior design options with an eye for conservation. According to greenhomeguide.com, “sustainable interior designers seek to help their customers make decisions that balance environmental protection and economic goals in ways that are right for each client”.
Sustainable interior design is based on a specific set of principles that are applied to the decisions made during the design process with an emphasis on lessening or eliminating any negative effects on the environment through careful use of natural resources. By incorporating aspects of ‘green’ living into the design process, sustainable interior designers are creating more efficient homes with smaller carbon footprints that help protect the environment.
Whether you are looking to build a new home or simply want to incorporate sustainable design into an existing home, making choices that follow sustainable practices is not only good for the environment but can also help you save money in the long run.
What are some of the ways that I can incorporate sustainable interior design into my home?
There are many ways to incorporate sustainable interior design both in new homes and in existing ones. If you are looking to build a green home, here are some tips on incorporating sustainable features in your design:
– Use high performance insulation to minimize heat loss in the home
– Design for air tightness to ensure fresh air is not leaking into the house
– Use durable materials that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
– Use energy efficient appliances, lighting and heating systems
– Utilize low flow water fixtures to reduce water consumption
These are just a few of the tips you can follow for creating a green home but there are many others that you can incorporate into your design. For example, using recycled and reclaimed materials and incorporating renewable energy systems such as solar panels or geothermal heating/cooling units can also help your home become more sustainable.
Sustainable interior designers working on any existing homes use the same principals to make decisions about the materials used to improve the homes energy efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint. They do this through a process called environmental site analysis.
What is environmental site analysis?
Environmental site analysis works by taking into account what surrounds your home in terms of insulation, heating/cooling systems, windows, exterior paint colors etc., and choosing the design that is most sustainable for your home. For example, if you live in an area where it snows, you might want to choose a south facing orientation of your house so that your homes heating can be provided by the sun during winter months. If you live in an area with more extreme temperature fluctuations, insulating your home properly and choosing energy efficient heating and cooling systems is best.
You might also want to look at what you can do to make your homes exterior sustainable. Installing a rain garden to reduce the amount of water runoff from your property, using gravel and porous surfaces to minimize storm water runoff issues and planting trees for shade can help you create a more sustainable home exterior.
Is it expensive to incorporate sustainable interior design?
Incorporating sustainable practices into your homes design can sometimes be costly and there are other times when it will not cost you very much. The best way to determine if a sustainable improvement is worth it for your home is to do thorough research and look at the long term benefits that each option would provide. For example, insulating and adding high performance windows might cost more initially but in the long run they can provide you with cost savings because they improve the insulation of your home, thus saving on heating and cooling costs.
Don’t be afraid to look at low or no cost sustainable interior design options either! They are often doing wonders for other homes around the world without costing a dime. The best way to determine if a sustainable improvement is worth it for your home is to do thorough research and look at the long term benefits that each option would provide.