It seems as through everything’s coming up green these days. It used to be that demanding clients wanted high quality, low prices and blazingly fast project completion – all at the same time, of course. Now they want all that, along with homes that are health-promoting, smartly connected and environmentally friendly. While some of us jumped on the sustainability bandwagon right away, there are others who might need a bit of encouragement to understand why this growing trend has a deeper meaning – and can have a genuinely positive impact your business, too. We’ve found that there are a few misconceptions that may be to blame for making professionals hesitant to implement sustainable initiatives in their designs.
Myth #1: Sustainability will hamper my creativity
Sustainable design begins long before you pick up a sketchpad, make a vision board or start collecting swatches. It all starts in that incredibly creative brain of yours, as you look over a blueprint or an existing space and start to envision all the ways it can be brought to a meaningful, enriching environment for your client. Creativity will be fueled, not hampered, by making eco-friendly choices to optimize space and conserve energy.
Creativity will be fueled, not hampered, by making eco-friendly choices to optimize space and conserve energy.
The approach to lighting is one good example. In the early design stages, you can implement ideas to use the most possible natural light from windows and skylights. As the project moves along, specifying energy-savers like LEDs, halogens and compact fluorescent light bulbs can make a significant impact.
The sustainability continues when selecting materials. A creative designer loves to incorporate antique and vintage décor and furniture whenever possible, and the good news is that they’re the ultimate option for a “reuse and repurpose” credo. Recycled materials can be given new life in countertops, sinks, tiles, carpets and fabrics, too.
Bottom line: At the “blank piece of paper stage,” you have the best opportunity to incorporate sustainable options. Plus, you might find that eco-friendly choices are often the most creative ones, too.
Excuse #2: Ecology is for the outdoors
We all love the wilderness, but most of us spend our time living in designed, human-made spaces. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that most Americans spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. And while it may seem like evening rush hour on the freeway is the most pollution-intense zone you’ll encounter all day, the reality is that concentrations of some pollutants indoors are often two to five times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.
Bottom line: A sustainable indoor environment can make a big impact. Your customers want smart, healthy and reliably non-toxic homes.
Excuse #3: I don’t have time to source a whole new set of eco-friendly vendors
While it may once have been a struggle to source design elements that focused on sustainability, there’s a whole new world of eco-friendly options out there, and they aren’t hard to find. Ask your current suppliers, and you might be surprised how many choices they have. These days, it’s easy to find energy-efficient windows and doors, eco-friendly furniture, low-VOC paints, renewable-source flooring, water-savings appliances, sustainable furniture and more.
Related Content: Earth Day-Inspired Home Décor Brands for Sustainable Living
Bottom Line: There’s more out there than you might realize. Visit the ASID product finder hereto start browsing for sustainable options.
Interior designers have not only the responsibility, but the opportunity to make a significant impact on the environment, one project at a time.
Seeking more inspiration? Check out this Case Brief in ASID’s “Impact of Design” Series. It’s a home for a modern family that highlights the rich benefits of thoughtful universal and green design innovations. Some key sustainable elements include producing more energy by solar array than consumed, using a tankless water heater and installing electrical lighting fixtures specified as LED for high-efficiency purposes, which uses as little as 15 percent of the energy of conventional lighting.
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